By Matthew Denis
As part of efforts to curb possession of contraband items by intending pilgrims from Ilorin zone, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will be deploying sniffer dogs, scanning machine and 30 of its officers to Ilorin International Airport for the 2017 Hajj screening exercise.
This number of staff is far beyond the usual 10 officers shortlisted yearly for the hajj exercise by the agency at the facility.
Recall that the Saudi Arabian authorities last year arrested three pilgrims from Kwara for alleged possession of substance suspected to be cocaine.
Speaking exclusively to the Commander of NDLEA, in Kwara State, Barr. Onah Ogilegwu, said ” We have reached the peak of preparation for this year’s hajj exercise and we are deploying 30 staff to the airport to strictly screen the intending pilgrims.”
Ogilegwu stressed that Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) and other stakeholders have written letters urging the agency to tighten its screening process for the exercise.
He said, “As we were already preparing when we received letters from the emirate and other stakeholders advising us to strengthen the screening process of the intending pilgrims at the airport.
“Immediately we wrote to our headquarters and our Chairman to request for sniffer dogs and scanning machine for the hajj exercise. We also wrote to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed for his assistance for smooth conduct of this year’s exercise.”
According to him, the agency is still waiting approval of request from the headquarters.
He however divulged that 30 officers have been deployed for the exercise by the state Command to man the airport.
He said, “We have already deployed 30 officers for the exercise and I will personally be there to monitor the situation therefore there is no cause for alarm.”
He appealed to intending pilgrims to represent the peaceful state of Kwara and the country at large.