NAHCON Apprehends Impostors at Muna Camp in Saudi Arabia

The two suspected impostors were caught mingling with genuine pilgrims resting after their journey from various camps in Saudi Arabia.
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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Friday apprehended two Nigerians allegedly posing as pilgrims at the Muna camp in Saudi Arabia.

The suspects, identified as Abu Mahmud and Ismaila Yahaya, were caught wearing counterfeit Nusuk Identification cards and the traditional white attire of Hajj pilgrims in an attempt to blend in with the crowd. Their deception was uncovered, and they were taken into custody by vigilant officials.

Mahmud, who claimed to hail from Kano State, was found with an expired Saudi visa, revealing he had been residing in Saudi Arabia illegally since 2022. In a desperate bid for a better life, he allegedly paid N3 million to enter Saudi Arabia illegally.

According to Mahmud, "I only wanted to perform Hajj. So I faked the Nusuk ID and sneaked into the camp when Nigerians arrived this afternoon. I am so sorry. Please allow me to go. I won’t do the Hajj again. If you arrest me, I will be in trouble and so will my family."

At the time of filing this report, the impersonators were being interrogated by NAHCON officials, who will subsequently hand them over to the Saudi authorities.

It should be recalled that the Saudi government had issued a stern warning that all pilgrims must possess a valid Nusuk card to participate in this year’s Hajj. Those found without the mandatory Nusuk card will face severe consequences, including deportation, a jail sentence, and a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals.

This year’s Hajj has drawn over 1.5 million pilgrims from around the world, with numbers expected to exceed 2 million as the 2024 Hajj reaches its peak on Sunday.

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