The Saudi Arabia authority has slammed a death penalty for any pilgrim who travels to the holy land with kolanuts, hard drugs and other contraband.
Hence, the Lagos State government yesterday warned intending pilgrims for the 2016 hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to stay out of trouble and likely death sentence by not traveling to the holy land with contraband items.
The state government described kola nuts as a caffeine-based edible seed, otherwise known as “goro” and “obi” and often used ceremonially by Nigerians to show a gesture of friendship and warmth and also used in the production of beverages and energy drinks. But the Saudi Arabia authority prohibits Kola nuts and other hard drugs items identified as harmful to their citizens. In guidelines for Hajj 2016, the Saudi Kingdom has notified the Nigerian authorities to ban kola nuts carriage by pilgrims during the annual pilgrimage.
Sunday Telegraph also gathered that some criminals during hajj pilgrimage smuggle cocaine usually hidden in the kolanuts while traveling to the holy land. Reacting to this at the Murtala Mohamed International Airport, Lagos State Amir Hajj, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, noted that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has confirmed the directive.
The implored Nigerian pilgrims to desist from including contraband such as Kola nuts in their luggages to the holyland.
To stay out of trouble in the holyland, Dr. Abdullateef, who is also the Lagos state Commissioner for Home Affairs, said complying with the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia is the best for the intending pilgrims.
He said: “The Saudi authorities have prohibited the importation of kola nuts and other hard drugs into the Kingdom, noting that it is a criminal offence that attracts death penalty.
“My appeal to those who are going to Hajj with Lagos State and other pilgrims across the country is to follow rules and regulations guiding the Hajj exercise.
We shall continue to educate our pilgrims to have a hitch-free Hajj operations” “Necessary arrangements have been concluded for their airlift between Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 of August, 2016. Pilgrims are, therefore, advised to contact their coordinators to know their flight schedule.”