HOW MANY PROMINENT NIGERIANS ESCAPED DEATH IN MECCA PILGRIMAGE STAMPEDE
Several prominent Nigerians including the immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Mallam Adamu Mu’Azu,former Special Advise on National Assembly,Alhaji Kashim Imam and former National Chairman of the defunct CPC,Senator Rufai Hanga, narrowly escaped death in the Thursday tragedy in Mecca.Multiple eyewitnesses at the scene said Mu’Azu,Imam and Hanga had joined millions of other pilgrims in stoning the devil when the stampede started.Other prominent Nigerians close to the scene were the PDP Youth Leader Abdullahi Maibarisa, Deputy Comptroller General (Operations) of the Nigerian Immigration Service Mr.Muhammad Babandede, and a former member of the House of Representatives.The hajj rituals continued yesterday although with security beefed up across the various points in Mecca.Alhaji Umar Farouk a Nigerian pilgrim from Zaria, Kaduna state said by SMS that “in spite of the tragedy, pilgrims are determined to perform their hajj duties.”Another Nigerian pilgrim,Alhaji Abdullahi from Kano asked Saudi Arabia to stop what he called long-existing discriminatory practices during hajj.“ The designation of pilgrims into categories of Non Arabs, Africans and others ensures discriminatory treatments and arrangements,” he said.According to him pilgrims from US, UK, Canada and European countries are always treated with courtesy whereas every Muslim,irrespective of his colour,should enjoy equal treatment.King Salman has ordered a comprehensive review of arrangements for the annual hajj pilgrimage that sometimes involve some three million pilgrims.The Saudi authorities are in the process of reaching being expected to reach the Nigerian and other countries’ officials anytime from now, with the list of the victims according to nationalities. President Muhammadu Buhari is deeply saddened by the colossal calamity which occurred yesterday in the Saudi Arabia, claiming the lives of hundreds of pilgrims, including some Nigerians.President Buhari believes that the stampede at Mina in which a notable Nigerian Journalist, Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf, Prof. Tijjani El-Miskin and others lost their lives is a monumental tragedy, not only for citizens of the countries involved, but for the global Islamic community. The President extends sincerest condolences to the families of the over 700 pilgrims who lost their lives in this latest disaster in the Holy Places which occurred less than two weeks after a crane collapse in Mecca claimed more than a hundred lives.President Buhari commiserates with the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Union of Journalists on the sad loss of Hajiya Bilkisu, an exemplary, dedicated, knowledgeable, very credible, highly-respected, outstanding editor and columnist who, even in death, will remain a glittering role model for journalists, within and outside Nigeria.The President has taken note of the assurance by the Government of Saudi Arabia that Thursday's catastrophe will be investigated and urges King Salman to ensure a comprehensive and thorough exercise that will identify any flaws in Hajj organisation with a view to avoiding a recurrence of such tragedies during the annual pilgrimage.
In the knowledge that it is not within our powers to question the will of God, President Buhari prays that Almighty Allah will comfort the families who lost their beloved ones in the stampede and receive the souls of all those who died in the Holy Land while fulfilling the religious obligation of the Hajj.