Seven Nigerian Pilgrims Arrested in Saudi Arabia


Seven Nigerian Pilgrims Arrested in Saudi Arabia


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has reported that seven Nigerian pilgrims have been detained in Saudi Arabia for failing to carry their NUSUK identity cards. According to Daily Trust, the NUSUK card, introduced by the Saudi Arabian government, is necessary for legal participation in the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.


This measure aims to prevent a recurrence of last year’s issues, where unauthorized pilgrims crowded the Mina camps, disrupting access to services for legitimate pilgrims.


In a circular dated June 6 and addressed to the States Muslim Pilgrims’ and Welfare Boards (SMPWB’s), NAHCON’s Coordinator in Makkah, Dr. Aliyu Tanko, stated that the detained pilgrims were apprehended in front of their hotels and hailed from two different states.


The circular emphasized the importance of collecting and using the NUSUK ID cards. “NAHCON wishes to reiterate its advisory and appeal on the collection and use of Nusuk ID Cards by pilgrims on Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Tanko said. He noted that the arrests occurred on June 5 and 6 due to the absence of these cards.


Tanko highlighted that this advisory is crucial as the authorities will increase enforcement as the month of Dhul Hijjah approaches. He urged all SMPWB’s and tour operators to ensure their pilgrims are aware of the necessity of possessing the NUSUK ID cards, which must be collected upon arrival in Makkah from the Mutawwif officials.


He stressed the importance of carrying these cards at all times, as they serve as the official means of identification and provide access to key areas during Hajj. For pilgrims with smartphones, the NUSUK app can be downloaded from Playstore or iTunes stores, allowing them to activate and access digital copies of their NUSUK cards using their passport and visa numbers.


Tanko warned that lacking proper Hajj permits or aiding those without permits can result in severe penalties, including a fine of SR10,000, six months’ imprisonment, deportation, and a 10-year ban from Saudi Arabia.


He concluded by urging all SMPWB’s and tour operators to ensure strict adherence to these guidelines to avoid any disruptions in the pilgrims’ spiritual journey.


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