Mecca tragedy: Nigerian man, wives, mother, stepmother die

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The Sokoto State Pilgrims Welfare Agency has confirmed the killing of the immediate Caretaker Chairman of Illela Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Bello Gidan-Hamma, his mother, stepmother and two wives in the stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

The agency also confirmed that the Chief Imam of the Sultan Abubakar III Jumaa’at Mosque, Sokoto, Sheikh Liman Dan-Ata, was among those killed in the stampede.

The Media Assistant to the agency, Alhaji Farouk Umar, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.

NAN recalls that the state government had in a statement issued on Saturday by Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s spokesperson, Imam Imam, confirmed the killing of nine other pilgrims from the state in the Mina stampede.

At of the time of writing this report, several pilgrims from the state had been declared missing.

Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll-led Jama’atu Nasril Islam on Sunday urged the Saudi Arabian authorities to probe the stampede.

“This is one tragedy too many,” the JNI in a statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar-Aliyu, in Kaduna, on Sunday, said.

This is just as a fiery Islamic cleric and leader of the Shiite Movement in Nigeria, Shiekh Ibaheem El-Zakzaky, blamed the tragedy on a Saudi prince whose convoy allegedly caused the stampede.

He said the prince and others fingered in the tragedy should be sentenced to death.

While commiserating with the families of the victims of the tragedy, the JNI urged the Muslim Ummah (community) not to be deterred but to remain steadfast in the current challenges confronting them.

The religious body noted that it was gratifying that the Saudi authorities were doing all they could to make the Hajj operation smooth, but added that investigation into what led to the tragedy was necessary.

According to the JNI, an investigation into the stampede became imperative in order to guard against future occurrence.

The JNI said, “With humility and total submission to Allah the exalted, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, and the President-General, condoles with with the Muslim Ummah over the Jamarat stampede, which led to the loss of several lives of pilgrims in one of the sites of worship in Saudi Arabia.

“This is one tragedy too many. JNI shares the pains and worries the families of the affected victims are passing through and urge them to patiently persevere and put their trust in Allah.

“Despite this and other painful trials, our faith in Allah is unshaken. Therefore, we call on each and every Muslim to remain focused and firm in his or her belief and engage in acts that will bring them closer to Allah.

“It is, indeed gratifying that the Saudi authorities have been doing everything humanly possible to make the Hajj as smooth as it should be, but we still call on them to investigate the Jamarat stampede in order to avert future a occurrence.”

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