2023 Hajj: Nigeria Loses 15 Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia - 9japarrot


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Thursday 6 July 2023

2023 Hajj: Nigeria Loses 15 Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia


By Nurat Uthman

Fifteen Nigerians had died during the just concluded Hajj rites in Saudi Arabia. Over 2 million Muslims from all over the world participated in the annual pilgrimage.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), had revealed last Sunday during a post-Arafat meeting that Nigeria lost 14 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia from the beginning of ongoing 2023 hajj till Sunday. 

The Chief of Operations and Head of the NAHCON National Medical Team, Dr Usman Galadima, revealed the figures during a post-Arafat meeting with stakeholders on Sunday in Makkah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Galadima explained that seven pilgrims died before Arafat, six died during the five-day Mashair (core Hajj period) and additional one person died after Arafat.

“We had six reported deaths at Mashair, four died in Arafat and the other two died in Mina. Already we lost seven pilgrims before Arafat and just now I have just been informed that we lost another pilgrim. This brings the total of deaths recorded to 14. “The mortality rate is similar to that of 2019,” he said.

Sadly, the latest addition to the number was the demise of a Lagos pilgrim identified as Alhaja Kuburat Adunni Shekoni, from Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of the state.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has sent his condolences to the family of Alhaja Shekoni.

While urging the family to accept the situation as the wish of Allah, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi said on behalf of the government and good people of the State, the governor prayed to God to forgive her shortcomings and grant her Aljanat Fridaus. He also prayed to Allah to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.

Elegushi stressed further that the deceased, a 66 years old female pilgrim from Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, was found dead in the bathroom by her roommate. He said that the cause of her death was yet unknown, adding that the NAHCON medical center would give the details after their investigation.

Also, Dr Galadima while briefing stakeholders revealed that the medical team recorded three cases of chickenpox during the core hajj period and the affected pilgrims were immediately moved out of the area as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of the disease.

Galadima also disclosed that the team recorded two deliveries during the period of hajj ritual in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah, adding that one of the pregnant women delivered on the road, while the second one was brought to the clinic and delivered safely.

He emphasised the need for a thorough pre-hajj medical screening with the issuance of a certificate of medical fitness.

He also said that elderly pilgrims and those that are very sick should be discouraged from participating in the symbolic devil stoning at Jamrat because of the stress involved.

Meanwhile, Prince Elegushi who is also the Lagos Amir-ul-Hajj said that the state pilgrims would start their return journey back home on the 7th of July with a ‘special flight’ expected to airlift all the elderly and those with medical challenges. 

He added that the airlifting exercise would run through 8, 9, 10 till 22nd of July when the officials would be airlifted.

He expressed the hope that having informed the pilgrims about the rules on luggage, the pilgrims would stick to the 32kg allowed by the airline for main luggage and desist from carrying water or any liquid item in their bags, saying that their ZamZam water had already been transported to Nigeria awaiting the pilgrims’ arrival.

Speaking on the issues of inadequate bed spaces and feeding in Muna, the immediate past Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs, absolved the State and NAHCON of any blame, saying that the fault was from the Saudi Arabian authorities who failed to make adequate provision for bed spaces commensurate with the number of pilgrims that participated in the exercise this year.

On the issue of feeding, he opined that the respective States should be allowed to engage their own indigenous professional caterers to provide local delicacies for their pilgrims instead of giving the sole rights to the Arabs. 

He also appealed to NAHCON to seek working permits for medical personnel brought by the states in order to be able to provide first aid for pilgrims with medical challenges. 

He noted that this would complement NAHCON’s efforts and reduce pressures being experienced by the personnel in its clinics.

Elegushi urged NAHCON to reduce its autonomy and relinquish some rights to the States. “NAHCON should trust us to deliver on some activities if given the chance. They should trust the states to handle things, entrust certain activities to us and guide us”, he said.

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