Following the threat by Saudi Arabian authorities to arrest and prosecute anybody or country who violates the stoning rituals, a civil society organisation, Independent Hajj Reporters, has called on the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, to intensify its enlightenment campaign to avoid sanctions.
The coalition in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, and made available to journalists in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday, stressed the need to embark on the enlightenment campaign before the commencement of movement of pilgrims to Mina.
He called for concerted efforts among state pilgrims’ welfare boards’ officials, enlightenment unit of NAHCON, preachers, pilgrims’ guides and the national media team to educate pilgrims on measures being adopted towards their safety and comfort.
Part of the statement reads: “Independent Hajj Reporters has called for urgent alliance among hajj information dissemination machinery in Saudi Arabia to take the message to pilgrims. Nigerian pilgrims should comply with the new guidelines issued by Saudi Hajj Ministry for the stoning of jamarat.
“During a meeting with Nigerian officials and other African countries in Mina on Monday, the Saudi Arabia Hajj Ministry official, Sheikh Mohammed, said arrangements have been concluded to assign guides who will lead a cluster of 250 pilgrims at a time to the jamarat and back.
“He said two guides from state pilgrims’ boards and Saudi Hajj Ministry will lead the group to perform the stoning rituals and also lead them back to their tent. Sheikh Mohammed threatened that pilgrims who violate the arrangement will be made to face the consequences, while their state officials will also be held responsible.
“We thus call for urgent alliance among hajj information dissemination machinery in Saudi Arabia to take the message to pilgrims. They should be made to understand that the measure being adopted is geared towards their safety and comfort. The penalty that will be meted out for violators should also be spelt out clearly to them, so that those who wish to toe the line of disobedience will understand the likely consequences of their actions.
“While we commend the enlightenment unit of NAHCON for its timely information dissemination strategy, we urge them to fuse their machinery with those of state pilgrims’ welfare boards, especially on this issue of jamarat timing,” the statement added.

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