Small-scale commercial activities have sprung up in a hurriedly-assembled mini market around hotels accommodating pilgrims from Nasarawa and Kano States in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims are on the Holy land for this year’s Hajj.
The market, being operated by some Nigerians resident in Saudi Arabia, involves buying and selling of fairly used male and female clothes, Nigerian local cousins and foreign exchange currencies.
The business run by food vendors, popularly called tikari, is booming even with the regular feeding arrangement offered by NAHCON for pilgrims.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that agents for tooth cap glitz purchasing and fixing are also having a field day, in spite of warnings against such illegal operation by NAHCON officials.
Alhaji Hamisu Rilwanu, an agent, said the business was picking as it entailed canvassing for customers on behalf of some dental clinics.
Another pilgrim from Kano State, who pleaded anonymity, said NAHCON offered two meals daily but that he needed the third to make up the day.
NAHCON Coordinator in Madinah, Alhaji Ahmed Maigari, had warned pilgrims against patronising uncertified food vendors and illegal money dealers.
He advised them to always move in groups with their officials and avoid secluded environments.
He said pilgrims, who turned deaf ears to the advice, were prone to several risks of eating contaminated food and being swindled by illegal Forex dealers.