Hajj departures begin to S.Arabia, pilgrims get travel advice

Rahila Lassa, Abuja

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The Nigeria Government has given some travel advice to citizens going on pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa gave the address as the inaugural flight of intending Muslim pilgrims to 2019 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia commenced on Wednesday.

In a statement by the NIDCOM Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Dabiri-Erewa reminded the pilgrims that kola nuts and prescription painkillers in large quantities have been banned in Saudi Arabia, and if found, attracts severe penalties, according to new Saudi Arabia regulations.

She said the Federal government through the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, and various State Boards have made adequate arrangements to attend to the medical needs of the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

Similarly, she said the Saudi authorities have free medical centres in all the nooks and crannies of the Kingdom equipped with all drugs for their medical needs.

She urged the security agencies stationed at the various departure centres in Nigeria to screen the pilgrims before their departure to Saudi Arabia.

Dabiri-Erewa also advised Nigerian pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country by portraying Nigeria in good image and pray for peace, unity and progress of the country in the Holy land.

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON,  announced that its inaugural flight of Nigerian pilgrims to 2019 Hajj exercise commenced on Wednesday July 10 with intending pilgrims from Katsina and Lagos States.

The first batch of NAHCON advanced team comprising 39 members of staff for Hajj operations had already left for Saudi Arabia since last Friday with another 15-man National Medical Advance Team led by Dr Ibrahim Kana.

Over 65,000 Nigerians excluding the private operators are slated to perform 2019 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.