- Nigerian pilgrims have been defrauded in an attempt to fix gold and silver teeth during hajj in Saudi Arabia
- Many of the pilgrims have also lost their Basic Traveling Allowances (BTA) to the same set of fraudsters
- Alhaji Musa Yahya Abubakar, the coordinator of FCT Pilgrims decried the way some pilgrims become so obsessed with gold or silver teeth
In an attempt to fix gold and silver teeth during hajj, Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia have been defrauded of thousands of Saudi Riyal by unidentified expatriates, The Guardian reports.
Fixing of artificial gold or silver teeth, though not part of the hajj obligations, has been a fad among most Nigerian pilgrims since time immemorial which symbolises their visit to Saudi Arabia.
Many of the pilgrims, mostly females who were not properly guided, also lost their Basic Traveling Allowances (BTA) to the same set of fraudsters, who unsuspectingly appeared to be assisting them to convert their dollar equivalents to Saudi currency.
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The leader of Kebbi State pilgrims, Alhaji Abubakar Argungu, confirming the ugly trend to journalists in Medina, said the illegal money-changers deceived the pilgrims, especially the elderly people and dispossessed them of their BTAs.
Abubakar said: “Our major concern this year is that some illegal residents in Saudi have been cheating and stealing our pilgrims’ money. Eight of our pilgrims were defrauded of their BTAs in less than two weeks.”
He appealed to state governments to always appoint credible officials with the fear of God to take care of pilgrims’ welfare.
Similarly, Alhaji Musa Yahya Abubakar, the coordinator of FCT Pilgrims in Madinah, also lamented what he described as unwholesome behaviour of dupes.
Alhaji Musa also decried the way and manner some pilgrims become so obsessed with gold or silver teeth, which he said unnecessarily exposed them to the fraudsters.
The coordinator accused those he referred as “Tukari,” expatriates including Nigerian students in Saudi, illegal residents and the non-Saudi Arabs of being involved in the fraudulent activities.
“We noticed that some Arabs and illegal residents in Saudi Arabia indulge in it. Apart from those two mentioned groups, some Nigerian students studying in the holy land, because they claim some percentage on each Pilgrim, they were also able to hoodwink pilgrims into the gold or silver teeth fixing business,” he said.
The head of civic orientation, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Umar Bala, reacting to the development, told journalists in Medina that NAHCON received series of complaints about the activities of fraudsters duping unsuspected pilgrims from Nigeria.
He said: “Reports reaching us in Medina shows that there are some unscrupulous elements who dupe pilgrims in the name of assisting them convert their BTA to Saudi currency, Riyal. In fact, Hajiya Maryam Yahya Sani of Ummulkair Foundation complained about this development last week.
“I can confirm to you that NAHCON officials in Medina have been going from house to house to educate, sensitise and enlighten pilgrims arriving on a daily basis on how to go about their civic responsibilities, but we would advise that states, too, should do their bit.”
Legit.ng previously reported that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Friday, July 20, declared that the first batch of this year’s Hajj pilgrims from Nigeria will leave for Saudi Arabia today, Saturday, July 21.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria said that it is set for the inaugural flight signaling the commencement of 2018 Hajj operations.
NAHCON spokesperson, Fatima Usara, in a statement said the flag-off is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 21, at the Domestic Wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja at 11:00 am.
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