7 FCT pil­grims still miss­ing in Saudi Ara­bia

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - From Hus­sein Ya­haya, Mecca, Saudi Ara­bia

Of­fi­cials of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) Pil­grims Wel­fare Board are in Mecca, Saudi Ara­bia, in search of seven pil­grims re­port­edly miss­ing in the holy land.

A se­nior of­fi­cial of the board told our cor­re­spon­dent in Mecca that six of the seven per­sons could not be ac­counted for af­ter the stam­pede that oc­curred in Mina dur­ing the ston­ing of the devil by the pil­grims.

He said the board could not cat­e­gor­i­cally say if the miss­ing pil­grims were dead as ef­forts to lo­cate them ei­ther in the hos­pi­tals or morgues yielded no re­sult, but he con­firmed that one fe­male pil­grim died dur­ing the stam­pede.

The of­fi­cial, who craved anonymity be­cause he was not per­mit­ted to speak on the is­sue, said the list of the miss­ing pil­grims would be sent to the Na­tional Hajj Com­mis­sion for fur­ther ac­tion.

Mean­while, FCT pil­grims in Mecca have ap­pealed to the pil­grims board to li­aise with ap­pro­pri­ate author­i­ties to find ways of mov­ing them back home, sev­eral days af­ter they had com­pleted the hajj ex­er­cise.

The pil­grims, who spoke with our cor­re­spon­dent in Mecca, won­dered why it was tak­ing the board so long to re­turn them back to Nige­ria.

One of the pil­grims, who gave his name as Zakariyya, said many coun­tries im­me­di­ately re­turned their pil­grims home in view of the calami­ties that be­fell this year’s ex­er­cise and won­dered why Nige­ria was mov­ing at snail pace in re­turn­ing her pil­grims.

He said out of about 3, 000 pil­grims from the FCT that took part in the hajj ex­er­cise, less than 1000 have so far re­turned to the coun­try, more than fif­teen days af­ter the ex­er­cise ended.

Isa Baba Madaki, another pil­grim, pleaded with the rel­e­vant author­i­ties to wade in and re­turn them home in view of the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents that char­ac­ter­ized this year’s ex­er­cise.

“We were told that the planes were not enough to con­vey the pil­grims back home. One or two planes are be­ing used for more than six states with nu­mer­ous pil­grims. Are they not risk­ing our lives? God for­bid, if any­thing hap­pens to us in the process, Nige­ri­ans should hold them re­spon­si­ble,” one of the pil­grims said.

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