Three out of the 76,000 pilgrims from Nigeria for 2016 Hajj exercise has been reported dead by National Hajj Commission of Nigeria. (NAHCON).
The Head of Medical Team, Dr Ibrahim Kana confirmed this to all stakeholders during a pre Arafat meeting held at Makkah. Kana, who said two of the pilgrims died in Madinah and one in Makkah, said his medical team were still conducting postmortem to know the cause of death.
He said one of the dead pilgrims died in his sleep while no one knows the cause of death of the remaining two. He attributed the low death rate this year to adequate preparation by NAHCON as over 400 medical personnel were mobilised to this year’s Hajj exercise.
Kana said the medical personnel have been distributed to all Nigerian camps to ensure prompt response to the medical needs of Nigerians.
To this end, he said NAHCON has procured three new ambulances and sufficient drugs that would complement what Saudi government had provided to take care of Nigerian pilgrims during the Arafat period.
He warned pilgrims not to indulge in moving about during sunny afternoon because of heat stroke in Makkah and Madinah due to hot temperature.
Kana advised pilgrims to feed well, eat fruits and take a lot of water to cushion the effect of the heat and reduce the influx of sick pilgrims to the Medical centre.
He decried absence of medical history of pilgrims, saying that the wrist bands introduced by NAHCON this year, if properly, implemented would help in solving that problem.
In his briefing, Alhaji Adebayo Yusuf , a national commissioner in charge of policy, said there was no accident 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 flight operations.
Reminiscencing on the sad event that happened during 2015 hajj exercise, the chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Muhammad Abdullahi openly wept uncontrollably on the death of over 317 Nigerian pilgrims.
While calling for prayers from the Islamic Scholars for the repose of the soul of the dead pilgrims and to forestall future occurrence, Abdullahi cautioned pilgrims to obey the laws of the land.
He said all arrangements have been made to have a hitch free hajj exercise in 2016 with a lot of modifications to ease the performance of hajj for pilgrims.
Abdullahi listed some of the challenges encoutered by the commission which include electronic payment, BTA, security breaches, wrist bands, accommodation and transportation, baggage but which have all been sorted out.
He warned any state pilgrims welfare boards and tour operators who violate any Saudi laws or NAHCON guidelines, would be made to pay for those violations.
At the meeting were the appointed NSCIA leader of the 2016 hajj, Alhaji Yahya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe, both Senate and House of Representatives committee on Foreign Affairs, the Charge de Affairs in Saudi Arabia and States and Tour operators.
Over three million pilgrims would perform this year hajj starting from movement to Muna on Saturday, Arafat and Muzdalifa on Sunday and throwing stones at the devil (Jamrah) on Monday.