By Suzan Edeh
The Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Hon Kawuwa Damina, a pilgrim from Nigeria, has given personal account of how narrowly escaped death at Mina, near Mecca, where over 1000 lives were lost.
He said he had just passed through the area that turned out to be the scene of the stampede less than an hour before it happened.
According to confirmed reports, over 1000 pilgrims from across the world were confirmed dead and many more injured during the stampede on one of the roads leading to the Jamarat Complex (stone throwing site) in Mina.
According to him, “the Mina stampede did not take place at the Jimarat – that is the place where pilgrims stone the devil. The stampede happened about 600 metres away from the Jimarat.
“Before the incident, I passed through that particular area where the stampede occurred just minutes before it happened and from what I observed, I had a premonition that something was going to go wrong. I even commented on it.
“Surprisingly, it was not up to an hour after I had left the area that the incident happened. Where the stampede took place was a passage and there were shades left and right. There was also a fire service point and because of the heat, people just cool themselves with water on their foreheads and bodies as they walked on.
“It was at that junction that the passage became narrow because of the congestion. The movements at that moment became tensed and resulted in the stampede that claimed many lives and injured several others”
The speaker, who expressed grief over the loss of many lives during stampede, noted that it was blessing because the incident happened after the “Arafat” which automatically qualifies them to go directly to heaven, according to the Islamic religion.