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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

240 Nigerians 'Missing' After Hajj Double Tragedy


After the double hajj tragedies that killed nearly a thousand people and left many more injured, Nigeria, which sent at least 76000 pilgrims at the expense of the state, has confirmed that 64 of those pilgrims lost their lives and at least another 240 were missing.
I do not intend to make a joke out of these unfortunate mishaps; but the sad truth is that some of the 'missing' Nigerian pilgrims, if not all of them, and maybe even more may have absconded. It would not be taking it too far to suggest that these Nigerian pilgrims saw the crane collapse and the stampede as an answer to their ernest prayers for an opportunity to leave Nigeria for good. If they could, in their opinion, join the gravy train to Mecca, then finding their way out of Saudi Arabia to neighbouring countries or even Europe where there are, most probably, waiting friends and relatives should be a breeze. And the fact that they could do this at the expense of the state which "does not give a damn" (in the words of former president Jonathan) about them will be the icing on the cake. It is a much safer option than getting on a leaky and overcrowded dinghy, and crossing the Mediterranean into Europe, except of course for any unforeseen mishaps (like a deadly stampede) if one decides to participate in the hajj formalities before going 'missing'. 
Exactly 3 years ago, 750 Nigerian female pilgrims were deported by the Saudi government for being without a male companion. The Saudi government has shown where it concentrates its efforts - picking out female pilgrims unaccompanied by males - instead of ensuring the safety and security of millions of other pilgrims.