2017 Hajj starts today, pilgrims cautioned

As more than about seventy one thousand, two hundred Nigerian Muslims and over two million other Muslim nationals proceed to Muna for performing this year’s first hajj rites, the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barrister Abdullah Muhammad Mukhtar, has advised pilgrims to obey the stipulated rules and regulations of the Hajj.

Mukhtar, who made the call at the Pre-Arafat Stakeholders Conference, at Al-Raqiyyah Hall in Makkah, also called on all stakeholders to put hands on deck to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

He said “no one should rest on his oars until every pilgrim successfully carries out the hajj rites and safely returns to his loved ones.”

According to him, despite the increase in hajj fares, 65, 000 pilgrims were registered through the states while 16, 200 pilgrims came to Saudi Arabia through Private Tour Operators.
He explained that there was increase of over 10, 000 pilgrims compared to the number of Nigerian pilgrims that perform hajj in 2016.
He disclosed that the commission had recorded dead of four Nigerian pilgrims since the beginning of the 2017 Hajj Operations, one delivery and one miscarriage.

Muhammad, however, did not disclose the identity of the pilgrims who lost their lives, adding that the Commission would first inform the families of the deceased before releasing their names to the public.

The NAHCON boss said the Commission had made adequate arrangements to ensure smooth movement of all Nigerian pilgrims to Muna with a view to ensuring a hitch-free exercise.
On his part, the Charge D’Affairs, Nigerian Embassy, Riyadh, Ambassador Salisu Umar, assured of the determination of the embassy to assist NAHCON and all Nigerian pilgrims to ensure successful 2017 Hajj Operation.

He appealed to all Nigerian pilgrims to respect the rules and regulations of Saudi Authorities, particularly on road traffic, adding that the embassy had recorded no fewer than 10, 000 cases of road traffic violations.
Umar also advised pilgrims to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration because of the harshness of the weather.
He, therefore, urged Nigerian pilgrims to avoid picking anything on the street to avoid been arrested for committing offence, saying that the law of Saudi Arabia was strictly on Islamic injunction.
Team Leader, Taradudiyyah and Jamara’at Arrangement, Dr Aliyu Tanko, said Saudi Authority had introduced digital technology at Jamara’at  whereby buses conveying pilgrims to Muna are installed with GPS device.
He urged the pilgrims to comply with the innovation by turn out timely to the buses for easy movement.



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