Nigerian pilgrims to 2015 Hajj in Holy Land Mecca have been warned to avoid arrest and imprisonment as some officials were arrested and imprisoned for trespassing last weekend.
It has also emerged that At least six Nigerians are among the dead victims in the Mecca Friday service time tragedy which claimed the life of 111 and injuring over 300 more when a crane fell on the Eastward building surrounding the KAABA in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) confirmed the death of the six victims as the Chairman of NAHCON Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed confirmed the death.
Four Gombe pilgrims were among the dead there is a casualty each from Kaduna and Katsina states. It was also confirmed that two victims were injured with one person each from Kaduna and Gombe.
Meanwhile, only the identity of one Alhaji Adamu Shuaibu Kargi from Kubau Local Government of Kaduna State has been known while the remaining five names are yet to be relayed by officials.
A spokesperson from Kaduna State Hajj taskforce Saidu Adamu had earlier confirmed that Kargi’s died in the mishap.
However, the fate of four women from Gombe state are yet to be known as Gombe State Ameerul-Hajj Abdullahi Mai-Kano had confirmed the four female pilgrims from the state had been missing after the incident.
The accident occurred when a pillar from one of the construction sites of the ongoing expansion of the mosque collapsed after a heavy rainfall preceded by strong wind and massive storm after pilgrims had observed the Asr (late afternoon) prayer.
Witnesses said one of the cranes being used for heavy construction was hit by a thunderstorm during the rainfall and then fell on one of the pillars around the Ka’aba where thousands of pilgrims were circumambulating the holy house.
The accident which claimed 111 lives also recorded 331 injured according to latest statement from the spokesperson of the Presidency on the Affairs of the two holy mosques Ahmad Al-Mansouri.
They were allegedly arrested for trespassing and given summary punishment.
Suleiman Usman, 2015 coordinator of the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) in Mecca disclosed that the victims were arrested and promptly committed to imprisonment.
Mr. Usman had made the disclosure while visiting three Nigerian states that suffered casualty during the recent KAABA tragedy in order to express his condolences. The three states that lost at least six victims were visited last Sunday night.
The coordinator said the affected officials were medical personnel arrested for embarking on a trip outside Mecca without official permission.
“We are trying to secure the release of our medical team, who were arrested and taken to prison by Saudi security, while travelling from Jeddah in an ambulance,” the coordinator said.
Mr. Usman, who did not disclose how many officials were affected, and the states they represent, appealed to pilgrims to desist from traveling outside Mecca without official permit, at least until after Arafat.
“Pilgrims should not leave Mecca at least until after Hajj and with official permit. They should also ensure adherence to the laid down rules and regulation of the Saudi authorities,” he said.
Commenting on the Friday tragedy, Mr. Usman said rescue officials were able to identify Adamu Kargi from Kubau Local Government Area of Kaduna State from his uniform as he was not carrying his identification cards.
“We were able to identify the deceased from Kaduna State by his uniform because at the time of the accident, he was not bearing identity card and the hand identification band. But, we commend our pilgrims for wearing their uniforms all the time,” he said.