Thousands of Nigerians Defrauded in Saudi Arabia in Search of Gold Teeth
Nigerian pilgrims in the holy city of Saudi Arabia have been defrauded of thousands of Saudi Riyal by unidentified expatriates while attempting to fix gold and silver teeth for them.
Many of the pilgrims, mostly females who were not properly guided lost their Basic Traveling Allowances (BTA) through fraudulent means.
The ugly news was confirmed by leader of Kebbi State pilgrims, Alhaji Abubakar Argungu, who said the illegal moneychangers deceived the pilgrims, especially the elderly people and dispossessed them of their BTAs.
“Our major concern this year is that some illegal residents in Saudi have been cheating and stealing our pilgrims’ money. Eight of our pilgrims were defrauded of their BTAs in less than two weeks.”
Coordinator of FCT Pilgrims in Madinah, Alhaji Musa Yahya Abubakar, also decried the way and manner some Pilgrims obsession with gold or silver teeth, which he said unnecessarily exposed them to the fraudsters. He accused those he referred as “Tukari,” expatriates including Nigerian students in Saudi, illegal residents and the non-Saudi Arabs of being involved in the fraudulent activities.
“We noticed that some Arabs and illegal residents in Saudi Arabia indulge in it. Apart from those two mentioned groups, some Nigerian students studying in the holy land, because they claim some percentage on each Pilgrim, they were also able to hoodwink pilgrims into the gold or silver teeth fixing business”.
Although, fixing of artificial gold or silver teeth is not a hajj obligation, but Nigerian pilgrims since time immemorial fix it to symbolize their visit to Saudi Arabia.
Abubakar appealed to state governments to appoint credible officials who have fear of God in then to be in charge of the pilgrims welfare.
Head of Civic Orientation, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Umar Bala explained to journalists in Medina that NAHCON received series of complaints about the activities of fraudsters duping unsuspected pilgrims from Nigeria. He, therefore, cautioned state boards to appropriately guide their state contingents.
“Reports reaching us in Medina shows that there are some unscrupulous elements who dupe pilgrims in the name of assisting them convert their BTA to Saudi currency, Riyal. In fact, Hajiya Maryam Yahya Sani of Ummulkair Foundation complained about this development last week.“I can confirm to you that NAHCON officials in Medina have been going from house to house to educate, sensitise and enlighten pilgrims arriving on a daily basis on how to go about their civic responsibilities, but we would advise that states, too, should do their bit.”
Leader of Nigerian students in Medina, Ustaz Shu’aib Salihu Zaria, has disassociated Nigerians studying in Medina from the nefarious act. According to him students are officially engaged to guide pilgrims during their visit and the union would not condone anyone of them found to be involved in such ungodly act.