By Simon Ateba/Lagos @simonateba
Over 300 Nigerian pilgrims might have died in Saudi Arabia during a tragic stampede there in September and the governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has wept in public following the disclosure.
“Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Saturday, publicly wept when the Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi II disclosed during a special prayer to usher in the New Islamic year and for the repose of souls of pilgrims who died at the Mina stampede, in Saudi Arabia, recently, that over 300 Nigerians lost their lives in the incident,” the Kano government said in a statement on Saturday.
Sanusi said “so far 173 Nigerians were confirmed dead. The whereabouts of about 130 are still unknown even though yesterday (Friday) one Nigerian was identified. However, through the use of DNA samples in due course, some of our people could still be identified. Therefore, to be precise, over 30O Nigerians are assumed dead.”
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who could not hold back his tears prayed Allah to let absolute peace reign in the state and the nation at large.
While presiding over prayers at the Kano Central Mosque, Emir Sanusi urged federal government to investigate the cause of the tragedy.
The emir said information could be gathered from Nigerians who survived, and challenged contemporary Islamic scholars to come up with fatwa that would resolve the complexities associated with stoning of the Jamaraat.
“He also appealed to federal government to iron out with Saudi authorities, the issue of stationing of Nigerian pilgrims at the boundary of Mina and Musdalifah during pilgrimage, or over a decade, arguing that the stationing arrangement should be rotational to facilitate unity among all races,” said Press Secretary Aminu K. Yassar in a statement
The Emir further called on the state government to direct its Pilgrims Welfare Board to commence preparation for securing accommodation close to Holy Mosque for its pilgrims as soon as possible, noting that any delay could deny next year’s pilgrims opportunity to secure accommodation with more locational advantages.