The Hajj Board has warned pilgrims embarking on this year’s Hajj pilgrimage not to carry kola nut or risk being arrested or even killed by Saudi Arabia authorities if caught.
This was after the Board received a circular from the Government of Saudi Arabia prohibiting pilgrims of carrying kola nut, locally referred to as “goro” in Hausa, into the Kingdom.
Deputy Communications Director of the Board, Mohammed Amin Lamptey told Joy News the Saudi government has warned to deal ruthlessly with any pilgrim who smuggles in kola nut among other prohibited items in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom.
“People are leaning on the kola nut to do so many things. In Ghana, some pilgrims have a way of concealing it in items like cooking oil, gari, yam, maize et al. to send to Saudi Arabia during Hajj,” he said.
He added that the Saudi authorities might have noticed this over the years thus the stern warning for pilgrims to desist from the act and heed to advice.
According to him, the Saudi authorities used to allow pilgrims to take along few of the nuts until people started abusing that opportunity.
“I think that the Saudi government has realized that there are people who use kola nut as a camouflage to do things that are untoward and
questionable,” he said.
The Saudi authorities have implored on intending pilgrims to adhere strictly to the rules and regulations of items prohibitions in the Kingdom.
Mr Lamptey said the Board will do its best as always to continue sensitising and educating the pilgrims but warned that they will block every chance during their search.
It’s a month away to this year’s Hajj activities in Saudi Arabia and plans are well advanced for a smooth take off to the holy land according to the Hajj Board with a maiden flight from the Tamale airport direct to Jeddah.
Ghana is expected to fly some 5424 pilgrims with 11 flights in total starting in Tamale from the August 19-21. All other beginning their journeys from Accra will be flown from August 23-30.