By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- SENATE President Bukola Saraki has expressed shock over the Saudi Arabia stampede where 171 people were killed and 863 injured.
Saraki who mourned the death of the pilgrims, called on the Saudi authorities to review the safety rules governing activities around places where the hajj rites usually take place, adding that he was pained and saddened that such tragic incident could still occur despite the safety instructions the Saudi Arabian authorities issued to pilgrims.
In a statement by his Media Office yesterday, the Senate President said: “We are pained. The death of pilgrims who came to worship from different parts of the world is too much for us to bear. We recorded over 100 deaths and 331 injured others when a crane crashed in Kaaba, Mecca about two weeks ago and now, hundreds of Muslim faithful lost their lives while performing the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.
“My heart goes out to the families of those that lost their lives in this tragic incident as I pray Almighty Allah to grant Aljannah Fidaus to souls of all those who lost their lives.
“I also pray for quick recovery for those that sustained injuries during the stampede. May Allah give the families of the victims the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Saraki stated.
The Senate President however charged the Saudi authorities to organize a comprehensive review and update of the safety rules and security arrangement around the holy places where many pilgrims will always visit at the same time.
He said this was necessary to avoid unnatural disasters like the two that had happened in the last one month.
He also called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to be more proactive in training and orientation of intending pilgrims as, “safety instructions and guide to pilgrims during hajj, particularly in specific areas, will help forestall future occurrence of such human surge and any other form of crises.”
Senator Saraki called on the Saudi authorities to intensify measures to guarantee the overall safety and welfare of pilgrims in future exercises, adding, “Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it to undertake. Tragic incidents like this may create fear and panic in the minds of prospective pilgrims.”