Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Abdullahi Mohammed, on Saturday said three Nigerians were injured in the Saudi crane collapse incident that occurred on Friday.
“So far, we have identified three people that sustained injuries and they are receiving adequate medical care by the Federal Medical Team in the kingdom” he told Channels Television.
According to him, members of the Federal Medical Team and the help desk of the National Hajj Commission are going round all the hospitals and mortuary where the bodies of the dead have being deposited, to ascertain if there is any Nigerian.
He noted that about 53,800 Nigerians have been airlifted into the Kingdom for the 2015 Hajj so far with about 12,000 remaining, adding that “it is our hope and desire that we will finish the operation on or before 17th of this month, which is the official date for the closure of Jeddah airport”.
When asked if there was any death recorded besides the Friday incident, the Commission Chairman said that “there were reported cases of mortality,” but it has nothing to do with the incident.
“Some were diagnosed to have cardiac arrest, and some were hypertensive and some diabetic…so far we have six mortality,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia to take necessary actions to ensure the security and well-being of all Nigerian pilgrims in the Holy Land.
hat no Nigerian pilgrim is affected or has been identified among those that lost their lives in the Saudi Arabia crane collapse. He maintained that investigation is still on.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga A. Ashiru yesterday (Friday) 28th September 2012, in New York met with His Royal Highness, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Acting Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs used the occasion of the meeting to register Nigeria’s strong objection to the treatment meted out to many Nigerian female pilgrims, who after fulfilling the visa requirements were denied entry to Saudi Arabia in order to perform Hajj, one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam.
Ashiru expressed Nigeria’s particular concern at the denial of consular access to the detained female pilgrims by both the Nigerian Ambassador and Consul-General in Saudi Arabia, which is in contravention of the Vienna Convention.
He also expressed the view that the action of the Saudi Authorities was not only unfortunate but did not truly reflect the historic friendly ties between the two nations.
He concluded by requesting the Saudi Authorities to immediately find an appropriate solution to the problem while ensuring that these intending pilgrims are treated with respect and dignity so that they can consummate their religious duties and obligations.
The Saudi Acting Foreign Minister, while expressing regrets at the development, informed that the denial of entry to unaccompanied female pilgrims to perform the Hajj was not a Saudi Arabian regulation but an Islamic requirement that all women must be accompanied by Muharrams.
He however informed that efforts are being made to find an immediate solution to the problem. Finally, he expressed the hope that Nigerian pilgrims will in future fully comply with this Islamic injunction in order to avoid such unpalatable consequences.
The Nigerian government, while calling for restraint on the part of those affected by the recent action of the Saudi government, wishes to assure Nigerians that all efforts are being made to find an early solution to this worrisome development. Government also reiterates its determination to protect the legitimate interests of its citizens abroad.
The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Khaled Abdrabuh has given the assurance that the controversy over the detention of 908 female Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and the deportation of some will be resolved later today.
The Federal Government on Wednesday gave the Saudi Arabian government 24 hours to resolve the issue as instructed by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, after he summoned the Arabian envoy to his office.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, who is the head of federal government delegation to Saudi Arabia to resolve the impasse, met with the Saudi Arabia envoy behind closed doors on Thursday.
Honourable Tambuwal in his address to journalists stated that the Nigerian mission in Riyadh is meeting with Saudi authorities to resolve the situation.
However, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign affairs, Representative Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, has warned that Nigeria will not hesitate to bring back her people if the issue is not resolved today.
According to the National Hajj Commission, 908 female Nigerian pilgrims were refused entry into Saudi Arabia, alleging that they breached the escort rules for female pilgrims under Saudi law.
The law of the Islamic nation stipulates that any female pilgrim that is not over 40years old must be accompanied by a male who should either be her husband, brother or father.