Two Nigerian pilgrims have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for allegedly being in possession of banned drugs.
The pilgrims were among the thousands currently undergoing the hajj operation in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and comprise a male and female.
The two pilgrims could face death penalty for carrying banned drugs. In Saudi Arabia, the punishment for carrying banned drugs is death when convicted by the laws of the land.
P.M.NEWS gathered from a source currently undergoing the hajj operation in Saudi Arabia that the two pilgrims were from Lagos State, but the Lagos State Government said the pilgrims were from Kwara and Ekiti states. The banned drugs were said to be hidden in garri. This has made the Saudi authorities to ban carrying of foodstuff to the holy land by Nigerian pilgrims.
The Nigerian female was said to have been nabbed by vigilant Saudi security operatives at the King Abdullaziz International Airport on Thursday for being in possession of banned drugs. The other culprit was reported to have been arrested on Sunday after being found with substance suspected to be cocaine.
The names of the pilgrims could not be ascertained by our source as at press time. It was gathered that the pilgrims, if found guilty according to Saudi law, would be executed.
Chairman, Lagos Hajj Ad-hoc Committee, Alhaji Abdullateef Abdulhakeem, confirmed that two pilgrims were arrested by the Saudi Authorities but denied that the arrested pilgrims were from Lagos, saying they were from Kwara and Ekiti States.
As a result of the development, the Lagos State Government has barred the remaining pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia from carrying foodstuffs.
Over 3, 000 Lagos pilgrims have so far been airlifted to Saudi Arabia out of the 3,885 pilgrims from the state, while airlifting of the pilgrims may be concluded this week.
The Lagos State Government has vowed to deal with any pilgrim who misbehaved in Saudi Arabia during next month’s hajj. To ensure hitch-free hajj, the Lagos State Government said it had set up a special taskforce made up of officials of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, Chief Security Officer, CSO of the state and Governor’s Monitoring Team officials, among others to monitor Lagos pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and deal with erring ones.
Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Oyinlomo Danmole said government would not tolerate any form of indiscipline from any Lagos pilgrim.
“Any pilgrim who misbehaves will be dealt with. We also have a tribunal in place to try erring pilgrims in Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that during the last hajj, a pilgrim who misbehaved was prosecuted after the hajj in Lagos.”
Chairman, Hajj Ad-hoc Committee, Abdulhakeem said government had adequately prepared to ensure hitch-free hajj as it had organised seminar to enlighten the intending pilgrims on the basic rules of hajj. “We have engaged the services of a separate airline to convey our pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. We will not be using the same airline with other pilgrims in the Southwest. We have also decided not to keep our pilgrims longer in Saudi Arabia after the hajj.
– PM News