President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to urgently account for all Nigerian pilgrims in the aftermath of last Thursday’s stampede at Mina.
According to a statement by the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the directive followed conflicting reports on the number of Nigerians who died or suffered injuries in the tragedy which claimed well over 700 lives.
The presidential spokesman said Buhari was very concerned that days after the unfortunate incident, some Nigerian families were “still grappling with painful uncertainty over the fate of their relatives who travelled to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj.
“The president expects the National Hajj Commission to work with the various state pilgrim boards, Islamic organisations and private travel agencies involved in Hajj operations to speedily provide a confirmed and verifiable report on the status of every Nigerian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia”, he added.
Shehu further noted that the president “has also directed the Hajj Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to give all necessary assistance to Nigerians who are still receiving treatment for injuries suffered in Mina.
“He continues to pray that Almighty Allah will receive the souls of the dead, comfort bereaved families, heal the injured and bring all surviving Nigerian pilgrims home safely”.