Some Nigerian pilgrims in Madinah have been visiting telecommunication mobile outfits in the city for free SIM cards and to purchase recharge cards to link up with families at home.
Newsmen report on Monday that many of the pilgrims apparently nostalgic were seen receiving free SIM cards and buying recharge cards to make calls to Nigeria.
Some of the telecommunication mobile service providers offering free SIM cards to the pilgrims include: Zain, Labara mobile and Mobily.
Newsmen report that for a pilgrim to be able to use the free SIM to call, he or she must present visa to ascertain status in the city.
Those who scaled through the process and purchased recharge cards were given 300 per cent free recharge cards to make calls.
Prices of the recharge cards range from 30, 50 to 99 riyals; with one riyal exchanging for N100.
A pilgrim, Nurudeen Lawal, told NAN that he had been calling home several times to know the welfare of his family and business since he arrived in Madinah.
“I have called my people today, to know the welfare of my wife, children and friends. I am a businessman, dealing in Tokunbo (second hand) cars. I also need to know how my business is moving,” he said.
Salisu Abdulrahman, another pilgrim, said besides letting his family to know of his well being in Madinah, he had been eager to know the development in Nigeria through his friends.
“The only way I can get information about latest development in Nigeria is through phone calls.
“Making mobile call in Madinah is on higher side, compared to Nigeria. I have no option than investing on my cell phone to know what is happening in my country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said it had so far transported 16,605 intending pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia for the 2019 Hajj.
According to the Control and Command Centre of the commission, pilgrims from Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, FCT, Oyo, Ogun, Gombe, Osun, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kogi and Lagos states have arrived Madinah.
The flight of the pilgrims, which started in Katsina on July 10, entered its 12th day on Monday.