FIVE Nigerian pilgrims have lost their lives since the beginning of the 2017 Hajj, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said yesterday.
The commission’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad, spoke at the pre-Arafat meeting of stakeholders in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad, who regretted the demise of the affected pilgrims, said the commission will release their names after reaching out to their families.
Chairman, NAHCON Medical Matters Dr. Ibrahim Kana, however, added that one of the deceased hailed from Kwara State.
He noted that the death rate for this year’s Hajj was the lowest in recent times.
Kana said a pilgrim from Kwara State was delivered of a baby and another pilgrim had miscarriage.
But, the NAHCON boss said Nigerians who want to renew their pilgrimage henceforth are expected to pay additional 2,000 riyals – a levy he said was imposed by the Saudi Arabia authorities.
According to him, the new levy becomes necessary in view of some of the reforms introduced by the Saudi government.
He urged the tour operators to prepare the pilgrims for onward movement to Minna for the beginning of the hajj rites today.
The Charge’d Affaires, Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh, Ambassador Salisu Umar, advised tour operators to discharge their responsibilities to the pilgrims to enhance the success of the hajj operations.
He urged the operators to make sure the pilgrims under their custody are lectured on the extant laws of Saudi Arabia.