Saudi Arabia has declared that it gave new measures to regulate the movement of pilgrims from Nigeria and other countries around the Holy Ka’aba (tawaf) during the 2019 pilgrimage (hajj) to help in crowd control similar to the recent innovation in symbolic stoning of the devil (jamarat)..
Hitherto, pilgrims, Riyahd said, were expected to proceed to the jamarat for the stoning ritual from Musdalifa.
However, following the Mina stampede of 2015 in which thousands of pilgrims lost their lives, the authorities introduced a turn by turn arrangements for pilgrims whereby each country is given a time to carry out their stoning ritual.
Also, pilgrims normally proceed to the Holy Mosque to carry out their tawaf as one of the important rituals during hajj after the stoning ritual.
From 2019, the authorities say they will introduce a timetable for countries to carry out their tawaf.
This was revealed in Makkah by the establishment in charge of African Non-Arabic Speaking Countries, popularly known as muassassa at a meeting with officials of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
Also, according to the spokesperson of (NAHCON), Fatima Usara, authorities of the kingdom also revealed tough penalties await people who overstay in Makkah and their collaborators.
Some Nigerian pilgrims often overstay their hajj or umrah visas.
To this end, NAHCON told the Saudi officials that it has ”laid out plans on this issue and was supported by the establishment pledging to offer the commission all necessary backing in doing so.
”Both sides agreed to introduce collaborative measures that will bring visa/immigration violation to an end, ” she said.
Mrs Usara, in an email to PREMIUM TIMES, said representatives of Nigeria’s Licensed Tour Operators, who’s pilgrims were most culpable in the act, also pledged that their organisation will not tolerate any member trying to soil their name and business.
NAHCON also took advantage of the meeting to demand that Nigerians pilgrims tent at Mashair should have air conditioners instead of desert coolers.
The manager in charge of Jamrat operations under Mu’assasa, Abdallah Lashkuri, assured that the request will be given consideration.
”Relevant papers on terms and conditions were signed legally binding the two sides in a contractual agreement,” she said.
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