By Matthew Denis
In a bid to ensure effective screening of 2018 intending pilgrims for the Muslim pilgrimage, the Kwara State government has concluded plans to install four scanning machines at the Ilorin International Airport.
Pilot Aviation learnt that two of the machines would be deployed for body scanning while the remaining will be used for luggage in order to detect illegal substances such as cocaine.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the state Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Mohammed Tunde Jimoh during the second sensitisation programme for pilgrims held in Ilorin on Saturday.
He warned the intending pilgrims against trafficking drugs or being courier for dealers in the illegal substances.
He said:” I want to use this opportunity to tell drugs traffickers that Kwara zone is not an exit point to traffick hard drug to Saudi Arabia.
“We are going to position two body scanning machines and two luggage scanning machines this year at the airport.
” So definitely, there is no way any intending pilgrim can get out of the airport without undergoing effective screening by the security agencies on ground,” he added.
The Executive Secretary disclosed that about 2,200 intending pilgrims have completed their online registration for this year’s hajj.
He further said, “Most of the intending pilgrims have paid but are yet to submit their passports as they are sorting out issues with the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“The deadline for payment in compliance with National Hajj Commission was May 10th 2018 but there was extension for people to meet up with the payment till this month ending.”
He, however, said the screening and accrediting of airlines will be done by lies the National Hajj Commission.
According to him, “After NAHCON must have screened the airlines then the states will be asked to make a choice.
“We are also expecting NAHCON to give us directive to announce the total hajj fees expected to be paid by each intending pilgrim as we were told that the issue still lies before the presidency and National Assembly for final resolution.
Jimoh then called on pilgrims to adhere to laid down rules and regulations guiding the exercise both in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
” The essence of the sensitisation programme is to let intending pilgrims know the rudiments of the hajj rites and existing laws in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, and should be aware of all the prohibited items.
He warned the pilgrims to against paying money to hajj agents as the board doesn’t deal with them as regards registration, urging then to always contact the board for any information as regards the exercise.