Twelve Nigerians have so far died in Saudi Arabia since the transportation of Nigerians to this year’s pilgrimage began on September 19, Dr Aliyu Tanko, the Coordinator of the National Hajj Commission in Mecca, confirmed the death of four pilgrims to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Mecca on Thursday.
Tanko said the figure was made up of two pilgrims from Katsina, one each from Sokoto and Ogun, and that they died shortly on arrival in Mecca last week. He, however, did not give further details, but recalled that eight other pilgrims died earlier in Medina. Tanko said that the commission’s three clinics in Mecca and those set up by the various state pilgrims boards provide effective medical services to Nigerian pilgrims in Mecca.
He urged pilgrims to always seek medical advice before embarking on pilgrimage and warned them against exposing themselves to the harsh weather in the Holy Land. The coordinator said of the 81,000 Nigerians that had so far arrived in the Holy Land, 60,000 were in Mecca and the rest in Medina.
He added that the remaining 14,000 pilgrims of the 95,000 Nigerians performing this year’s pilgrimage were transported to the Holy Land by tour operators. NAN reports that the King Abdulazeez International Airport, Jedda, will be closed to incoming flights today.