Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 8 October 2017 | 1,840 times
The death toll of Nigerian pilgrims currently performing the 2017 Hajj in Saudi Arabia has risen from five to seven.
The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mohammed, disclosed this in an interview with journalists at the plains of Arafat, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.
Mr. Mohammed had, at the 2017 pre-Arafat meeting with Hajj stakeholders on Tuesday, announced the death of five Nigerian pilgrims
Though the identities of the late pilgrims were not known, as well as the circumstances that led to their death, but, the chairman said the pilgrims both male and female from Kwara, Kogi, Katsina and Kaduna States died due to natural illness.
“We have lose seven pilgrims due to natural illness; male and female, particularly Kwara, Kogi, Katsina, Kaduna. No single accident recorded this year. All pilgrims are evacuated in good time.
“We will have to say that, so far so good, even the mortality recorded this year is the lowest in the last 10 to 15 years. We pray that will be the end of any mortality that we are going to record,” he stated.
Mr. Mohammed expressed optimism that, the movement to Mustalifah, back to our tents and the observant of the stoning of the Jamarat will also be well coordinated, peaceful and pilgrims will finish their Hajj right safely.
“Importantly, the commission has introduced an emergency call centres. We have officers who man that call centers 24 hours. So, any pilgrims under any distress situation should call this number 90008251, 920008251,” he said.
He said the commission has a robust, effective and well coordinated medical team that are up and doing with ambulances stationed in various medical camps to attend to emergency needs of pilgrims.
He said the commission is also coordinating well with the state officials to attend to any emergency needs of the pilgrims.
He expressed satisfaction over the hitch free movement of pilgrims from Makkah to Mina and to Arafat.
“Anybody who knows what Hajj used to be in the past, for you to move from Makkah to Muna, minimum you need is about eight hours, because of the traffic and the confusion. For you to move from Muna to Arafat, you need nothing less that, four to five hours, because of the congestion and the confusion. But now, it takes only 10-15 minutes, maximum of 20 minutes, you arrive at your destination.
“So, actually, the Saudi system is working perfectly. But, just like any other human endeavour, there is always room for improvement. We hope, the authorities, despite the successes, recorded they will try to meet up, especially the turnaround time of the vehicles,” Mr. Mohammed added.
He said the back bound flight will commence on the 7th and the commission will maintain the first inn first out policy, except those under emergency.
Prophet Muhammad had underscored the importance of Arafat in the annual Islamic pilgrimage when, according to his companions, proclaimed that any pilgrim unable to make it there cannot be said to have observed Hajj.
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