By Ishola Balogun & Kazeem Ategbeshe

Saudi Arabia—The number of Nigerian pilgrims who died during this year’s hajj has risen to 14, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has said.

The commission also said that among the dead was one of its staff, who died after a brief illness.

The Commissioner in Charge of Health at the Commission, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, who stated this at the media briefing, said about 18,000 sick Nigerian pilgrims were treated so far by NAHCON medical team.

He added that over 6,000 of them were treated in the 25 clinics established at Muna and Arafat in the last four days.

“Total mortality as at  September 4 is 14, while seven were pre-Arafat with two pilgrims from Kaduna and one each from Yobe, Kogi; Kebbi; Katsina and the FCT; seven were post-Arafat, with two pilgrims from Kano (one international); and one each from Osun, FCT, Zamfara, Katsina and one NAHCON legal adviser,” Mr. Kana said.

The head of the medical team also said among the post-Arafat deaths, two occurred in Mina.

He said Muna/Arafat outing in this year’s hajj “was greeted by scorching heat with temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius, thereby causing a lot of hardship on Nigerians and pilgrims in general.

“That resulted in early exhaustion, dehydration and even some developing heat stroke.”

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