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20 Nigerian pilgrims die in Makkah, says Hajj Commission

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) yesterday confirmed the death of 20 Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.mecca_hajj_the_kaba_02_600

The commission Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, who spoke at a pre-Arafat stakeholders’ meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said 14 pilgrims died following cardiac arrest and other ailments, and six lost their lives in the September 11 crane crash.

He said three Nigerians were injured in the crash, as against six earlier reported by the media.

The chairman said the pilgrims, who submitted valid documents to the commission for visa, were transported to Saudi Arabia.

He said the security situation in the country was tight and advised the pilgrims to be orderly and stay in Makkah.

Mukhtar urged the pilgrims to drink more water because of the harsh weather, saying they should only expose themselves to the sun when necessary.

According to him, female pilgrims should move in groups 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.

He said: “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.”

Mukhtar warned clerics against inciting pilgrims against the resolution, saying anyone found doing so would be sanctioned.

His words: “Anyone who violates the decision of the Ulama will be sanctioned. The commission has the power to sanction anyone found wanting.”

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