Three Nigerian pilgrims from Kwara State have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for alleged possession of substance suspected to be cocaine.
The Executive Secretary, Kwara Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Hajia Fatima Abolore-Jimoh, confirmed the arrest on Wednesday from Saudi Arabia in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Hajia Fatima said the three pilgrims, who were among the first batch of 505 Pilgrims from Kwara, were arrested in Madina by Saudi Arabia security operatives.
She did not disclose the identities of the three suspects but said they were still in the custody of Saudi Arabian authorities.
Describing the arrest as unfortunate and painful in spite of several appeals to them to be good ambassadors of Kwara and Nigeria, she added that the Saudi Arabian law would certainly take its course on the three suspected drug traffickers.
The executive secretary said that other pilgrims from the state were still in Madinnah, hale, healthy and in good spirit in spite of the unfortunate incident.
Meanwhile, it was reported that a Nigerian pilgrim was caught with 10 pieces of kolanuts on Monday, August 15. The pilgrim was said to have been fined 10,000 Saudi Riyals, amounting to 1000 Riyals per kolanut.
The acting ambassador of Nigeria in Saudi Arabia confirmed this on Monday, saying the Saudi authorities viewed the importation of kolanuts into the holy land as illegal, under Saudi law, anyone caught with narcotic drugs will face the death penalty.
Officials of the Nigerian consulate in Jeddah are reportedly still pleading for the pilgrim.
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey.
This year, total of 59, 647 Nigerian pilgrims applied for visas to attend the Hajj.