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Buhari, Saraki lament death of Hajj pilgrims, task Saudi authorities

By News Express on 26/09/2015

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President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, have expressed deep sadness over the colossal calamity which occurred on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, claiming the lives of over 700 pilgrims, including Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) Garba Shehu said that “President Buhari believes that the stampede at Mina in which a notable Nigerian Journalist, Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf, Prof. Tijjani El-Miskin and others lost their lives is a monumental tragedy, not only for citizens of the countries involved, but for the global Islamic community.”

Continuing, Shehu said in a statement: “The President extends sincerest condolences to the families of the over 700 pilgrims who lost their lives in this latest disaster in the Holy Places which occurred less than two weeks after a crane collapse in Mecca claimed more than a hundred lives.

“President Buhari commiserates with the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Union of Journalists on the sad loss of Hajiya Bilkisu, an exemplary, dedicated, knowledgeable, very credible, highly-respected, outstanding editor and columnist who, even in death, will remain a glittering role model for journalists, within and outside Nigeria.

“The president has taken note of the assurance by the Government of Saudi Arabia that Thursday’s catastrophe will be investigated and urged King Salman to ensure a comprehensive and thorough exercise that will identify any flaws in Hajj organisation with a view to avoiding a recurrence of such tragedies during the annual pilgrimage.

“In the knowledge that it is not within our powers to question the will of God, President Buhari prays that Almighty Allah will comfort the families who lost their beloved ones in the stampede and receive the souls of all those who died in the Holy Land while fulfilling the religious obligation of the Hajj.”

Also mourning the victims, Dr. Saraki called on the Saudi authorities to review the safety rules governing activities around places where the hajj rites usually take place.

Senate president, who was shocked by the news of the stampede where over 805 others sustained various degree of injuries said he is pained and saddened that such tragic incident could still occur despite the safety instructions the Saudi Arabian authorities issued to pilgrims.

In a statement by his Media Office, Saraki said: “We are pained. The death of pilgrims who came to worship from different parts of the world is too much for us to bear. We recorded over 100 deaths and 331 injured others when a crane crashed in Kaaba, Mecca about two weeks ago and now, hundreds of Muslim faithful lost their lives while performing the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.

“My heart goes out to the families of those that lost their lives in this tragic incident as I pray Almighty Allah to grant Aljannah Fidaus to souls of all those who lost their lives.

“I also pray for quick recovery for those that sustained injuries during the stampede. May Allah give the families of the victims the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

The Senate president charged the Saudi authorities to organise a comprehensive review and update of the safety rules and security arrangement around the holy places where many pilgrims will always visit at the same time.

He said this was necessary to avoid unnatural disasters like the two that had happened in the last one month.

He also called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to be more proactive in training and orientation of intending pilgrims as, “safety instructions and guide to pilgrims during hajj, particularly in specific areas, will help forestall future occurrence of such human surge and any other form of crises.”

Senator Saraki called on the Saudi authorities to intensify measures to guarantee the overall safety and welfare of pilgrims in future exercises. “Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it to undertake. Tragic incidents like this may create fear and panic in the minds of prospective pilgrims.”

•Photo shows Buhari and Saraki.

 

Source News Express

Posted 26/09/2015 04:36:13 AM

 

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