Two Nigerian pilgrims, a male and a female who hid banned drugs in garri bags are reported to have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for allegedly being in possession of banned substances.
It was gathered from a source 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 two pilgrims could face death penalty for carrying banned drugs. In Saudi Arabia, the punishment for carrying banned drugs is death on conviction.
The Nigerian female was said to have been spotted by Saudi security operatives at the King Abdullaziz International Airport.
The other was reported to have been arrested on Sunday after being found with a substance suspected to be cocaine.
The Chairman, Lagos Hajj Ad-hoc Committee, Alhaji Abdullateef Abdulhakeem, confirmed that two pilgrims were arrested by the Saudi Authorities but denied that they 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 and has vowed to deal with any pilgrim who misbehaves in Saudi Arabia. Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Oyinlomo Danmole, said government would not tolerate any form of indiscipline from any Lagos pilgrim.
The 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.