Five Nigerian Pilgrims Die in Saudi Arabia

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• FCT airlifts 1,875 pilgrims to holy land

Olawale Ajimotokan, Madinah, Saudi Arabia

The number of Nigerian pilgrims that have died at this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia has risen to five.

The Chairman of the Medical Committee of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Dr. Ibrahim Kana, confirmed the development last night in Madinah.

This is coming as the FCT Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board has airlifted a total of 1, 875 intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj to Saudi Arabia.

The official update given by Kana followed an earlier report credited to the Head of the medical team of NAHCON in Madinah, Dr. Hamidu Liman, which put the number of those that died at two.

An aged woman from Argungu, Sokoto State had been reported dead and buried last Friday, according Liman.

But Kana told journalists that the five pilgrims, included three females and two males.

Four of the deceased died in Mecca.

Katsina State accounted for two deaths- a male and a female, while Nasarawa, Sokoto and Kano states had one each.

“In terms of well-being of pilgrims so far on the medical side, we are yet to encounter any serious situation or potential outbreak of any disease, except for the extreme temperatures, which we admonish our pilgrims to stay indoors as much as possible, and if they must go out, they should cultivate the use of umbrellas and consume plenty of cold water.

“Regarding concerns of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV), pilgrims are strongly advised to stay away from camels, which are the reservoir and vector for the transmission of the disease,” Kana said.

He also disclosed that over 15 million doses of drugs have been consumed by Nigerian pilgrims at no cost to them, adding that NAHCON prepared a drug forecast for the entire operation, including drugs for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, which were donated by the Federal Ministry of Health, while the remaining ones were procured by the commission.

Kana also disclosed that all the families of the deceased have been informed accordingly by the various state pilgrims welfare agencies.

Meanwhile, NAHCON has in a statement issued by its Head, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara

reassured intending pilgrims and the general public that the airlift of Nigerian pilgrims will be concluded before the closure of Saudi Arabian airspace on August 6.

Meanwhile, the FCT Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board has airlifted a total of 1,875 intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj to Saudi Arabia.

A statement from the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the board, Muhammad Lawal Aliyu said the number was airlifted by official air carrier, Flynas airline, in five flights.

Aliyu disclosed that the board had already invited the remaining 375 intending pilgrims in the last flight to report to the camp from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, for their airlift to Saudi Arabia.

He explained that the board had concluded arrangements for the last batch, which would conclude the airlifting of the intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year.

He therefore warned the remaining intending pilgrims to report to the camp for the collection of their travel documents and other formalities as scheduled.

A total of 2,250 intending pilgrims are expected to perform the hajj through the board this year.