The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria on Monday confirmed the death of 20 Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia which occurred since the beginning of this year’s Hajj.
The Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, disclosed this at a pre-Arafat Stakeholders’ Meeting at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
He said 14 pilgrims died due to cardiac arrest and other ailments while six lost their lives in the September 11, 2015 crane crash.
Mukhtar said only three Nigerians were injured in the September 11 crane crash, as against the six earlier reported by the media.
The chairman said all the pilgrims that submitted valid documents to the commission for visa were airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage.
He also said that the security situation in the kingdom was very tight and advised pilgrims to be orderly and stay in Makkah.
He also advised pilgrims to drink more water due to the harsh weather, adding that they should only expose themselves to the sun when necessary.
He said female pilgrims should move in group and avoid construction sites within the Grand Mosque and outside.
On Arafat, the chairman said the pilgrims would start moving to Mina on Monday at midnight and advised them against climbing the roof of buses conveying them.
“We have resolved at a meeting with clerics to abide by the time given to us by the Saudi authority to start moving to Mina,’’ he said.
He warned clerics against inciting pilgrims against the resolution, adding that anyone found doing so would be sanctioned.
“Anyone who violates the decision of the Ulama will be sanctioned. The commission has the power to sanction anyone found wanting,” he stressed.