Thursday, June 13, 2024

Hajj: Senate assesses pilgrims’ lodging, feeding in Mecca

The committee led by Senate chief whip Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) visited many pilgrims’ abodes to see how they were being served food.

• June 11, 2024

The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday conducted an on-the-spot assessment of the Nigerian pilgrims’ lodging and feeding arrangements in Madinah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The committee led by Senate chief whip Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) visited many pilgrims’ abodes to see how they were being served food.

Briefing journalists after the assessment tour, Mr Ndume said the Senate decided to conduct the exercise out of concern over the alleged poor feeding of Nigerian pilgrims in the holy city.

According to him, social media has been awash with fake pictures of poor meals being served to Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi.

He said, “And the Senate as an institution is concerned about the welfare and well-being of citizens decided to come and investigate the matter to ascertain the truth or falsity of the situation.”

Sharafadeen Alli (APC-Oyo South) advised Nigerian pilgrims to be well-guided, follow instructions, and worship Allah wholeheartedly during the pilgrimage.

Mr Alli also advised the pilgrims not to be distracted by earthly things during the pilgrimage.

The senator said, “We thought that since we are here, it would be nice to visit the pilgrims. Secondly, there were rumours before we left home (Nigeria) about the situation of the pilgrims here. So, it is right that we are here; it is better to come out and conduct an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. What we have seen so far is contrary to the things trumped up at home.

“About the welfare of the pilgrims: I think the pilgrims are well-taken care of, and as far as their feeding is concerned, we have seen the food. It is basic and not below any standard. Then, on the issue of the woman (a pilgrim from Kwara State) who was rumoured to have committed suicide, I would say that from the video footage and information that we have here, it’s clear that she fell off the top of a building. It wasn’t a matter of suicide.”

He added, “It was an unfortunate incident, and whatever Allah wills, there is nothing a human being can do.”

It was reported at the weekend that a Nigerian pilgrim from the Kwara contingent, Hawawu Mohammed, died by suicide after jumping from her rooftop in Madinah.

The sad incident was confirmed by Abdulsalam Abdulkadir, the executive secretary of the Kwara State Pilgrims Welfare Board, on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Abubakar Yagawal, the commissioner of planning, research, statistics, information, and library services at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), said the commission’s team is working tirelessly to meet the pilgrims’ needs.


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