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Hajj deaths may lead FG to bar unfit pilgrims from traveling to Saudi Arabia

Muslim pilgrims

Touchaheart Nigeria reports that Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, the chairman of the National Hajj Commission, has stated that the commission will see to it that intended pilgrims undergo rigorous medical screening.

According to his words, individuals deemed unsuitable for the pilgrimage would be prohibited from engaging in the religious rituals from now on.

“Certainly yes,” said questioned Hassan when questioned on Wednesday about whether the commission would prevent anyone who were deemed unfit from entering Saudi Arabia.

He mentioned that due to the fatalities that occurred during this year’s Hajj, the commission has advised implementing rigorous medical evaluations for all parties involved, including the state pilgrims’ welfare boards.

No less than 14 pilgrims passed away during this year’s Hajj; Dr. Usman Galadima, the head of the Nigerian medical team for the pilgrimage, gave the breakdown on Sunday in Makkah during the post-Arafat review session.

He said seven pilgrims passed away during the pre-Arafat period. He also disputed reports that over 41,000 Nigerian pilgrims fell ill during the exercise in Saudi Arabia.

He provided a list of the fatalities, which consisted of the following: Plateau (1), Kaduna (2), Osun (2), Borno (1), Yobe (1), FCT (1), Benue (1), and Lagos (1), while three deaths were reported by private tour operators.

According to Galadima, two pilgrims died in Mina and four died at Arafat during the Muna-Arafat era.

Additionally, Touchaheart Nigeria reports that on Wednesday Hadiza Ismai’il, a 58-year-old female pilgrim from Kano, passed away during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

However, during a conversation with our correspondent on Wednesday from Saudi Arabia, the chairman of NAHCOM expressed that while it was regrettable, death was an unavoidable occurrence.

While numerous things could be linked by others to death, he claimed that Muslims believe death is always predetermined by Allah, regardless of the circumstances.

“We are Muslims and we believe that death is inevitable. Death is not associated with sickness. As Muslim, we believe death is not about sickness.”

 

“It (death) is about when you are called by Allah. Though we would have wanted a situation where nobody dies but we can’t question the Almighty,” Hassan said.

Expanding on his statement, he clarified that the commission had assembled a team of more than 500 medical professionals to attend to the needs of the pilgrims. He also emphasized that certain figures being circulated in certain reports were inaccurate and misleading.

He stated, “It is misleading to state that 41,000 Nigerian pilgrims fell sick this year, this is because the figure represents only medical consultations i.e. the number of times a doctor consulted a patient.”

 

“A single patient can attend a clinic multiple times if his or her condition requires multiple medical consultations. We expect over a hundred thousand consultations at the end of the operation.”

 

Regarding initiatives to lower pilgrimage-related fatalities, Hassan said, “An effective pre-HAJJ medical screening has the potential to reduce mortality during hajj.”

 

“Therefore, we have also recommended that a more stringent medical screening be conducted and a person certified fit to perform hajj before he or she is allowed to perform Hajj.”

 

“NAHCON could take up the responsibility of enforcing such a decision to reduce interference by the State’s stakeholders.”

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