Fraudsters In Saudi Defraud Nigerian Pilgrims Of BTAs

PIC.1. NIGERIAN PILGRIMS AT KING ABDUL AZEEZ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JEDDAH IN SAUDI ARABIA ON ARRIVAL FOR 2011 HAJJ ON SUNDAY (30/10/11).

Eight pilgrims from Kebbi State have fallen prey to the nefarious activities of some Saudi-based fraudsters in Madinah, losing their Basic Traveling Allowances (BTAs).

The fraudsters, mostly Nigerians resident in the Holy land, illegally often gained access to Nigerian pilgrims outside their hotel accommodation, where they lured their unsuspecting victims into shady business transactions.

Leader of Kebbi State’s pilgrims in Madinah Alhaji Abubakar Argungu confirmed this to reporters on Thursday.

He said the illegal money changers deceived the pilgrims, especially the elderly people, and dispossessed them of their cash

“Our major concern this year is that “Tikaris” (illegal residents) have been cheating and stealing our pilgrims’ money. Eight of our pilgrims were defrauded of their BTAs,” Argungu said.

He decried the attitude of the state officials, who abandoned their pilgrims to their fate on arrival in the Holy land.

He, therefore, appealed to state governments to always appoint credible officials with the fear of God to take care of pilgrims’ welfare.

The pilgrims’ leader urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to devise measures to protect pilgrims, who engaged in “tooth cap glitz” and money exchange.

“Government should do this like it did by designating a single bank to collect fees for sacrificial animals during the Hajj.”

Argungu urged the Hajj authorities in Nigeria to appoint more women to render various services to their counterparts, especially the elderly people in the Holy land.

NAHCON officials, especially its Madinah Coordinator, Ahmed Maigari and the Civic Enlightenment Department have at different fora alerted pilgrims about the activities of such dupes.