Umrah: NAHCON warns against overstay, says violators risk 6-mo

Monday, June 18, 2018

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has urged Nigerian Umrah pilgrims currently in Saudi Arabia for the 2018 Umrah (lesser hajj) exercise not to overstay their visa expiry date.

A statement by NAHCON’s Head of Public Affairs Division, Fatima Sanda Usara, warned that visa overstay carries with it multiple penalties.

The penalties include arrest, detention, six-month imprisonment, a fine of 50,000 Saudi Riyals and deportation, the statement said.

The commission also warned that service providers/tour operators who fail to report visa violators to necessary authorities or aid overstaying of Umrah pilgrims in the holy city, risk a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals per violator.

It, however, advised Umrah pilgrims to abide by the regulations of the Saudi Arabian authorities, and to remain good ambassadors of Nigeria.

The commission reiterated its commitment to safeguard the rights of all Umrah pilgrims as well as those of licensed service operators.

“The commission is determined to ensure that service providers meet their obligations to their clients,” the statement said.

NAHCON said it has since dispatched a team of its staff to Makkah to monitor, evaluate, take necessary action and report on Umrah activities of pilgrims as well as licensed service providers.

It urged Umrah pilgrim to report to NAHCON Head Office in Umm Jood District, Makkah for any complaint.

“However, NAHCON would like to enjoin all Umrah pilgrims to, henceforth, verify and determine the package they are paying tour operators/service providers for even before embarking on the journey.

“Doing this is important to facilitate any role NAHCON would be playing in the interest of the Umrah pilgrim-whether in sanctioning defaulting tour operators or even the Umrah pilgrims themselves.

“Doing this will eliminate any chances of being shortchanged and reducing the pilgrims tendency of expecting too much from his/her service provider,” the statement added.