Hajj stampede: Sokoto loses 79 as Nigeria’s death toll hits 199
Nigeria’s death toll now 199
Sokoto State lost 79 pilgrims to top the list of casualties of the September 24 stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, according to official figures released last night by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
This is even as sources in Sokoto State put the death toll from the state at over 100, with Ilela local government alone accounting for over 80 pilgrims that are still unaccounted for.
The Commissioner Planning, Research Statistic Information and Library Service (PRSILS) of the commission Dr. Saleh Okenwa told reporters in Makkah that the death toll has risen to 199 with 36 injured and 121 still declared missing. Kano State lost 20 pilgrims.
Sokoto also account for the highest number of missing at 59. Those missing are feared dead but not yet identified among hundreds of bodies at hospital morgues in the Kingdom.
Okenwa also said that only five Nigerians remained on admission at the hospitals as other injured have been discharged with majority of them already airlifted back to Nigeria.
Other states affected, according to the commissioner, are Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT who lost pilgrims between one and seven.
The source in Sokoto said many pilgrims from the state could not be accounted for as at yesterday in spite of the roundthe-clock search by officials.
“When we conducted a headcount of our pilgrims after the exercise we discovered many of them were still missing. We searched virtually all the hospitals in the Holy Land but all that we saw are mutilated bodies which can only be identified with the help of the DNA,” he said.