President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the National Hajj Commission and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to urgently account for all Nigerian pilgrims in the aftermath of last Thursday’s disaster at Mina, Saudi Arabia.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.
According to the statement, the Presidential directive follows conflicting reports on the number Nigerians who died or suffered injuries in the catastrophe which claimed over 700 lives.
“President Buhari is very concerned that days after the unfortunate incident, some Nigerian families are still grappling with the painful uncertainty over the fate of their relatives who travelled to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj,’’ the statement said.
It said the president had, therefore, directed 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 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 were still receiving treatment for injuries suffered in Mina.
The president prayed that Almighty Allah would receive the souls of the dead, comfort bereaved families, heal the injured and bring all surviving Nigerian pilgrims safely home.