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29.04.2019 Press Release

Drugs: Civil Society Wants Luggage Card For Pilgrims

Independent Hajj Reporters

In view of recent discovery by NDLEA on tagging of luggage using airline passengers name by drug cartel, Independent Hajj Reporters, civil society organisations that monitor and reports about hajj activities has called for introduction of pre-departure onshore luggage card for Nigeria pilgrims.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by its national coordinator Ibrahim Muhammed and Publicity Secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud.

We urge NAHCON to introduce luggage cards to records the number of luggage each pilgrim and to record the content prior to departure to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah exercise.

It will be recalled that National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was reported to have uncovered a cartel, which specialised in planting illicit drugs in travelers’ luggage. The operation that leads to discovery was the arrest of Zainab, who was arrested by Saudi Arabia Police on December 26, 2018 after arriving for Lesser Hajj.

According to a report of the investigation, a copy of which was made available to journalists yesterday, a suspected cartel in the airport had planted the tramadol-bearing luggage on Zainab.

In the report, which has since been forwarded to the Consul-General in Jeddah for action, it was further established that Zainab who, like her mother and sister, had only a piece of luggage, was not aware that a second bag had been labeled in her name.

The statement said ' the new devilish tricks employed by greedy drugs cartel demand immediate response to avoid further harm to the image of our country and killing of innocent soul'.

It also called for review of pre-departure onshore pilgrims luggage screening to curtail possible intruding hole that can be exploited by ever vigilant and determined drug lords.

It said ' Such luggage cards will be given to each pilgrim at the point of screening to fill. Local pilgrims officers can be detailed to collate photocopy each and hands over to airline officers for record”.

The groups also “call proper enlightment to pilgrims on the new trends so as not to fall victim of such set-up during hajj exercise”.

Independent Hajj Reporters
28th April 2019