Stranded Pilgrims Swindled In Mecca


Some clerics in the Lagos State contingent to this year’s hajj in Saudi Arabia have  formed a syndicate to extort money from Lagos pilgrims who are stranded in the Holy  land.

P.M.NEWS gathered that the situation has gone out of hand that the Lagos State  Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun, described it as  unfair and embarrassing.

A source still in the Holy land told our reporter that the group, comprising mostly  alfas and civil servants have cajoled over 200 innocent pilgrims into paying SR7  (Seven Saudi Arabia Riyals) equivalent to Nigeria’s N280 for alleged Zyara  (sightseeing) at Medina.

Though, some pilgrims like the traditional ruler of Oworonshoki in Kosofe Local  Council Development Area of Lagos State, Oba Bashir Olohuntoyin condemned the  situation, the alleged staff stood their ground, insisting that the state government  did not make any provision for the obligatory Zyara in Medina.

According to the monarch, “It is not proper because the state government has made  adequate provision for all pilgrims to perform their hajj without paying any  unnecessary money, especially now that most pilgrims have spent all their money.

“Ordinarily, I would have loved to pay the money requested by these people for all  the pilgrims but when I realised that the state government and the commissioner for  home affairs and culture who is also the Amir-Ul-Hajj for the state were not aware  and in support of it.”

Reacting to the situation, Balogun asked: “Which money and who asked for that?  Nobody is directed to collect money from any pilgrim, all the ulamas we brought here  have been sufficiently taken care of. No money should be demanded from any pilgrim.”

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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