Thursday, 18 October 2012

15 Nigerian Pilgrims Die in Saudi Arabia

One of the pilgrims from Lagos State performing this year’s holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has died in Mekkah, just as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said the country has lost 14 other pilgrims.
The Lagos pilgrim died, Thursday, after he took ill, was attended to by the medical team of the state’s pilgrim board, and then rushed to the hospital.
At the time of filling this report, the cause of the death could not be ascertained as the head of the Lagos medical team, Dr. Akerele refused to give details.
NAHCON’s Commissioner in Charge of Information and Research, Dr. Okenwa Saleh told newsmen in at the commission’s headquarters that 14 pilgrims from Nigeria had died in the course of this year’s hajj.
Okenwa said nine died in Medina, while the remaining six lost their lives in Mekkah.
The dead He said: “Knowing well that Allah is the giver and taker of soul, we announce that 14 pilgrims from Nigeria died at the holy cities of Medina and Mekkah.”
He gave the names of the five that earlier died in Mekkah as Umar Dahir and Shuaib Malami from Katsina State; Ganiyu Ayinde from Ogun State; Abdullahi Mudi and Nana Garba from Sokoto State.
The Hajj commissioner further disclosed that 82,724 pilgrims from Nigeria arrived the holy city for the hajj rites.
Saleh said: “82,724 pilgrims from Nigeria are here in Saudi for this year’s pilgrimage and they have arrived safely. They all arrived through ports at the cities of Jeddah, Medina and Mekkah.”
He absolved the commission of complicity in the diplomatic feud that ensued between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia over the deportation of some female pilgrims.
He said: “This issue has been solved, but it is very important for me to say that the commission should not be blamed for what happened."
On Maharam: “The simple reason why I said this is that we have had a meeting with the Saudi authority in February where they told us all the necessary requirements for the operation. But nothing like the issue of Maharam (male guidance) for the female pilgrims was raised.
“In fact, we did not make any different preparation from what we did last year, when no issue of that nature was raised.
“Fine, we all know that in Islam a woman cannot, due to issue of safety and security, come alone for Hajj. But she can follow a group of women.
“Meanwhile, the issue has been resolved and we would work on that to make other Hajj operations more successful Insha Allah.”

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