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Friday, December 14, 2007

HAJJ Is For Forgiveness, But What's Going On Now?

Many Nigerian pilgrims are falling victims to suspected fraudsters impersonating as hajj officials in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, Daily Trust can reveal.

Daily Trust learnt that the fraudsters have swindled unsuspecting pilgrims of their basic traveling allowances. The suspected fraudsters promised to exchange the basic traveling allowances on behalf of pilgrims in Saudi banks.

It was also learnt that the development has led to several pilgrims losing their entire allowances and other foreign currencies to the fraudsters.

It was learnt that some pilgrims from Jigawa State were on Wednesday duped of over 12,000 Riyals, equivalent to N1, 800, 000 by the fraudsters who impersonated the state hajj officials.

According to one of the victims, Mallam Musa Taura, a suspected fraudster came to inform them that he was asked to collect their travelers' cheques for conversion by their centre officer. Mallam Musa said they collected their monies and warned them not to trust anyone except officials from the state.

"We trusted him and gave him up to twelve thousand Riyals including two hundred dollars in cash but we were later told by our centre officer that he did not send anybody," he said. Another victim, Hajiya Tani Taura said she lost about N300,000 to the suspected fraudsters and now had resorted to begging.

Many of the duped pilgrims now reside at the Glass House in Mecca belonging to the Jigawa State government where they are being catered for. The pilgrims called on Governor Sule Lamido to come to their aid, saying that Hajj officials from the state had absconded since their arrival at the holy land. State officials could not be reached for comments, our correspondent said.

***ALLAFRICA.COM

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