By Umar Muhammad Puma Abuja
As Nigerian pilgrims joined their counterparts from across the world for this year’s hajj, a call have been made to the pilgrims to avoid eating from local food vendors popularly known as Tikari .
Tikari are mostly from west and central Africa, who live illegally in Saudi Arabia and at most times engage in selling of local foods that the pilgrims are familiar with in an unhygienic environment during hajj and Umrah.
Chairman National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Muktar who stated this in Makka at the 2018 pre-Arafat meeting with stakeholders, said it is imperative that Nigerians should avoid such food vendors because of the danger of outbreak of diseases, as according to him most of them cook their food in an unhygienic conditions.
“For the fear of contacting diseases our pilgrims should not engage in buying their food, we have it from good authority that some of the food vendors cooked their food in toilets and other unhygienic environment and bring it out to sell it to the pilgrims.
He advised pilgrims to remain in their tents in Muna and Arafat, since adequate arrangements have been made to provide enough food and drinks throughout their period of stay in the area.
The Commission also said it has concluded arrangements to monitor the slaughtering of Rams popularly referred to as Hadaya paid in Nigerian by pilgrims to ensure rancor free exercise.
Director Planning Research and Logistic Services, Sulaiman Usman started while briefing stakeholders at the pre-Arafat meeting of the tents arrangements for Muna and Arafat, said the aim is to ensure that no pilgrim was shortchanged and to also gain the confidence of pilgrims paying their Hadya in Nigeria before coming to Saudi Arabia.
NAHCON has also revealed that more than two million pilgrims from across the world have begun their lifetime spiritual journey to vast tent city of Mina for this year’s hajj.
The Saudi base Newspaper, Saudi Gazette reports that , the pilgrims have started converging on the vast tent city of Mina since last evening. As the night wore on Saturday, all roads and highways leading into Mina were filled with pilgrims, most of whom traveled in buses and other vehicles while some others on foot.
Addressing a press conference at the Public Security headquarters in Mina on Saturday, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, security spokesman at the Ministry of Interior, said that the number of pilgrims from within the Kingdom and abroad for this year’s Haj has exceeded two million.
All the concerned authorities and agencies have completed their preparations and arrangements to facilitate the smooth flow of pilgrims between Makkah and the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.