The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has confirmed that
54 Nigerians died during last Thursday’s Hajj stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia. This was disclosed by Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, Chairman, NAHCON on Monday at a news conference in Makkah. Mukhtar stated that 61 other Nigerian pilgrims sustained injuries during the incident.
According to Mukhatar, the movement of 42 of the deceased pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia was facilitated by the State Pilgrims’ Welfare Agencies, while the remaining 12 were assisted by Private Tour Operators. He further explained that the late pilgrims departed from Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Cross River, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Sokoto, Yobe, Taraba, and Zamfara states. The NAHCON chairman also added that while the State Pilgrims Welfare Agencies assisted with the journey of 45 of the 61 injured Pilgrims, the remaining 16 made their way to Mecca through Private Tour Operators.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the National Hajj Commission and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to urgently account for all
Nigerian Hajj pilgrims. The order was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu. About 700 pilgrims were said to have died following the stampede last Thursday.
Shehu expressed the President’s concern that days after the incident, some Nigerian families were still uncertain about the fate of their relatives who travelled to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj. The statement read in part, ”The
President expects the National Hajj Commission to work with the various state pilgrim boards, Islamic organizations and private travel agencies involved in Hajj operations to speedily provide a confirmed and verifiable report on the status of every Nigerian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia. President Buhari has also directed the Hajj Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to give all necessary assistance to Nigerians who are still receiving treatment for injuries suffered in Mina. He continues to pray that Almighty Allah will receive the souls of the dead, comfort bereaved families, heal the injured and bring all surviving Nigerian pilgrims safely home.”
The NAHCON Chairman said the commission is still investigating to verify the number and condition of some pilgrims who have been missing following the incident. In the meantime, the commission has set up three committees to condole with the families of the deceased, schedule befitting burial for the departed and collate information from eyewitnesses.