By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The newly-appointed Executive Secretary of Kwara State Musilim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Tunde Jimoh, has enjoined the Federal Government to provide drugs-screening machine so as to help in nabbing intending pilgrims planning to ferry drugs to Saudi Arabia.
Jimoh made this appeal while speaking in an interview with WESTERN POST Kwara State Correspondent in Ilorin early this week.
He said: “On assumption of duties I have visited various agencies including the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA), National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other agencies to know and stop those that are carrying drugs.
“One of the problems we are having presently in this zone is screening machine because most of this drug trafficers don’t put it inside their bag anymore. In fact, most of them swallow it and it’s the machine that will dectect it, so we have collaborated with and lobby the agencies to help us equally lobby their headquarters to get us machine that will screen the pilgrims this year so that those that are swallowing substances should know that we will definately catch them, though they requested for our assistance and the state government is planning to do something so we are going to put up an effective security measure in place this year.”
He attributed the early slots-exhaust to good welfare package accorded Kwara pilgrims over the years.
“In the past years, the state has been doing well in terms of welfare of pilgrims both in Nigeria and in the Holy land so people wish to go with Kwara State despite the fact that we have neighbouring states like Ekiti,Oyo, Osun, they still prefer to go with us and I think that can be attributed to our performance in the last few years, especially in the area of welfare of the pilgrims,” he added.
According to him, presently the state has 2,168 intending pilgrims. “We’ve applied requesting for additional seats to cater for those that are still pressing us for slots.
The Executive Secretary said July 27 remains the tentative day for take-off and the board has designed some rules for those that usually carry drugs, and the need for us to educate the intending pilgrims on the implication of doing that, and educating them in collaboration with other relevant agencies.
Alhaji Jimoh has just spent three months in office. He described the office as very challenging, but thanked Allah that he had been able to weather the storm, while also strategising on how to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.