24 Nigerians die during Hajj as NAHCON concludes return airlift today

THE National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will, today, conclude the airlift of 76,000 Nigerian pilgrims for this year’s Hajj back to the country, just as the commission also announced that 24 pilgrims died during the hajj period.

A statement by the commission’s Information Officer, Mousa Ubadanwaki, said the post-hajj movement of pilgrims back to the country would be concluded today with the airlift of the last batch of Kano pilgrims to Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano.

The development is coming eight days ahead of the October 17 deadline set by the Saudi Arabia authorities for the completion of the return of all pilgrims by the participating countries.

The commission confirmed that the number of dead Nigerian pilgrims during the 2016 pilgrimage was a reduction compared to the rates of mortality that were usually recorded by the country in previous exercises.

It said there were usually records of no fewer than 45 deaths, most of which were attributed to natural causes.

The reduction in mortality was said to have been caused by “the efficient and harmonised” healthcare delivery of the NAHCON medical team.

Meanwhile, NAHCON has received commendations from individuals, groups and organisations, which described the feat as unprecedented in recent times.

The Saudi Arabia Deputy Minister of Hajj, Muhammed Bin Abdulrahman Bijawi, while commending NAHCON for its achievement, expressed satisfaction with the arrangements made by the commission throughout the hajj exercise.