The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cargo Zeal Technologies Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Abdulaziz Afolabi, has urged Nigerian pilgrims to be circumspect of illegal cargo operators.
Alhaji Afolabi, who manages one of the accredited cargo companies by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), said many pilgrims lose their luggage after transacting with illegal operators in Makkah.
He made this known in an interview with Muslim News’ correspondent in Makkah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday.
Findings by Muslim News show that many Nigerian pilgrims bought items in the holy land after their hajj exercise, including gifts for their loved ones.
However, these items cannot be taken along with them during their departure trip to Nigeria if it outweighs 23 kilogrammes.
This is where cargo operators come in, assisting pilgrims to transport their excess luggage back to their home country.
In his remarks, Alhaji Afolabi said illegal cargo operators constitute a huge problem for both the accredited cargo operators and the pilgrims alike.
He therefore advised pilgrims to avoid any transaction with illegal operators, and patronize Cargo Zeal or any other government approved cargo companies.
“My advice for pilgrims is that they should not patronise illegal operators. If they want to patronise anyone at all, they should patronise government-approved cargo companies (like Cargo Zeal) and any other such.
“The reason is, if there is any complaint, they will know the direction to channel their complaints. If the cargo company is not listening to them, they know the next level of escalation, NAHCON. There is no way we can run away from them. They have all our details and our bank guarantees them. We have seen lots of cases; people complaining about loss of cargoes. Sometimes, it is inevitable, but this is very minimal. All those complaints or issues faced, we go through them and are able to solve them.”
He said they face the challenge of illegal cargo operators on a yearly basis, but the 2023 Hajj saw a decline in the rate at which they operated.
“Every year, we face the challenges of illegal operators. Those who don’t go through the screening we went through. You know, we don’t only go through the screening, we also have a 20-million-naira bank guarantee on our part for the pilgrim’s luggage. Then you can imagine for those who don’t do anything, they don’t have any overhead cost, they were not screened, they do not have bank guarantee, they will come and start challenging us while we are collecting cargo.
“We have reported to NAHCON and they tried their best, but these are people that we don’t know their base. Some of our pilgrims fall victim to them. Sometimes their cargoes go missing and you can’t trace them because they don’t have an office.
“The good thing is that NAHCON has done a wide sensitisation to the pilgrims. This year they (illegal operators) are in existence, but not as pronounced as in the past. I believe it will fade in the coming years. So, I hope by the grace of God, we will be able to phase them out,” he said.
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