3 Nigerian pilgrims die in Saudi Arabia, as Arafat holds on Sunday

THE National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has confirmed the death of three out of the 76,000 pilgrims from Nigeria in Saudi Arabia for the 2016 Hajj exercise.

The head of the medical team, Dr Ibrahim Kana, confirmed this to all stakeholders during a pre Arafat meeting held at Makkah.

Kana, who disclosed that two of the pilgrims died in Madinah and one in Makkah, said one of the affected pilgrims died in his sleep and his team was still working to know the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the two others.

Kana said the medical personnel had been distributed to all Nigerian camps to ensure prompt response to the medical needs of Nigerians.

To this end, he said NAHCON had procured three new ambulances and sufficient drugs to take care of Nigerian pilgrims during the Arafat period, in addition to the provision already made by the Saudi authorities.

He warned pilgrims not to wander about on sunny afternoon because of heat stroke in Makkah and Madinah due to hot temperature.

In his briefing, a national commissioner in charge of policy, Alhaji Adebayo Yusuf, said no accident was recorded during the stay of over 61,000 pilgrims in Madinah before they were moved to Makkah.

Yusuf added that NAHCON was able to transport 61,903 pilgrims to Madinah in record time in 151 flights.

The meeting was attended by the leader of the 2016 Hajj from Nigeria, Alhaji Yahya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe; representatives of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on foreign affairs, the Charge de Affairs in Saudi Arabia and members of states’ pilgrims welfare boards and tour operators.

Over three million pilgrims will perform this year’s Hajj which starts with movement to Muna today, Arafat and Muzdalifa on Sunday and throwing stones at the devil (Jamrah) on Monday.