A warning has been sent to intending pilgrims awaiting transportation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj to abstain from travelling with illicit drugs, kola nuts, cigarettes, etc., into the Holy Land.

The pilgrims are reminded that, as a nation deeply rooted in religious and cultural heritage, Saudi Arabia holds strict laws against drug trafficking, for which the penalty is death.

In a statement by the commission, signed by Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, “NAHCON wishes to remind the pilgrims that the purpose of their trip to Saudi Arabia is for worship, therefore, they should not be distracted by acts that would violate the sanctity of their Hajj. The Hajj period is a time for spiritual reflection and prayers that should be approached with reverence and respect for the laws and customs of the host country.

“On the other hand, the Commission’s management warns intending pilgrims to beware of being used as conduits for any illicit trade without their knowledge. Therefore, they are advised to be extra vigilant over their bags at airports to avoid the implantation of prohibited items in their luggage.

“Pilgrims are urged to uphold their honour and dignity and that of the country, as any individual caught smuggling prohibited items not only brings shame upon themselves but also tarnishes the reputation of their nation.

“NAHCON similarly advises State Pilgrims Boards to collaborate fully with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other related agencies in ensuring that persons planning to smuggle items prohibited in Saudi Arabia are apprehended to avoid embarrassment to the country and unnecessary delays during screening in both countries.”