Muslim Pilgrims Warned Over Kola Nuts
GHANAIANS WHO are currently being flown to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca have been sternly cautioned against travelling with kola nuts.
The National Hajj Committee (NHC) on Monday took advantage of earlier reports that the Saudi security had retrieved large quantities of kola nuts from some Ghanaian pilgrims at the Jeddah Airport, and with this effect advised the pilgrims to desist from the act.
For some time now, the fruit had been considered by authorities as a hard drug and had therefore forbidden its possession or use in Saudi Arabia. Due to the high price it commands there, the temptation by Ghanaian and Nigerian pilgrims to breach the law seems irresistible.
Speaking to pilgrims at the Hajj Village in Accra, Alhaji Abdul RaufTanko, Chairman of the NHC urged them to abide by all the laws in Saudi Arabia in order not to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities.
‘We are not allowed to carry kola nuts from Ghana into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Even though it is not an arrestable offence, it is at the discretion of the officer who has received you to decide whether you should go into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the fruit or to destroy it,’ Alhaji Tanko said.
‘Once you used thousands of Ghana Cedis to purchase the fruit here and you get there and they seize them, they destroy them so it is in your own interest to use your money to buy other things that are allowed there,’ he added.
So far about 3,170 out of 5,424pilgrim have been successfully airlifted by the Egypt Air-one of the two contracted airlines- from Accra to Saudi Arabia. The NAS Air-the second airline- would from Wednesday continue flying the rest of the pilgrims to the holy land.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
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