Eighteen Nigerians died in Saudi Arabia during the just concluded 2016 Hajj, attended by Muslims, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says.
The victims were from Kwara, Kogi, Bauchi, Taraba, Niger, Kaduna, FCT. There were foreign-based Nigerian pilgrims as well.
The head of NAHCON’s medical team, Ibrahim Kana, said two pilgrims, including a 40-year-old woman, died in Madinah.
Three died in Muna, while 13 died in Makkah. A mentally ill woman was amongst the victim.
Kana, however, said the 2016 death toll was the lowest in five years. He attributed the low figure to enhanced sanitation, increased medical awareness and compressed national medical team.
The medical team attended to over 21,000 patients from the commencement of the Hajj rites, Mr. Kana said.
He disclosed that despite repeated warnings, the medical team detected five pregnant women.
NAHCON chairman, Abdullahi Mukhtar, said all states which failed to give basic transport allowance to their pilgrims as well as those who collected Adiya money (money for ram slaughtering), and failed to remit same to NAHCON, would be penalised.
He said the commission would reimburse those who paid for services like air conditioned tents, and the newly introduced e –wristband, but did not enjoy products and services.
Meanwhile, amidst frauds that usually characterise the collection and execution of animal sacrifice (hadaya) money paid by the Hajj pilgrims, Charge’d Affairs of Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Salisu Umar has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to come up with a sensory modality of including the money into the hajj fare.
He make the suggestion at the post Arafat meeting organised by NAHCON in Makkah to review the 2016 Hajj exercise. The Nigerian envoy said inclusion of the animal sacrifice’s money in the Hajj fare will save intending Nigerian pilgrims for subsequent Hajj from being duped by fraudsters.
“Going forward, NAHCON should come up with the modality of including ‘hadaya’ money to the Hajj fare. This will avoid fraudsters from duping pilgrims of their money. The situation where some people formed themselves as hadaya agents and dupe our pilgrims of their money is not good for image,” he said.