7 FCT pilgrims still missing in 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.