Following the reports deaths of the estimated 736 pilgrims (Including Nigerians) during the Hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic pilgrim from Sokoto, Alhaji Muhamadu Ilela, who claims to have been at the scene, said the deaths occurred because the Saudi police blocked one of the gates leading to the Jamrat area.
‘’For over one hour, the queue didn’t move and we were in the scorching sun. After some time, people started collapsing because of the heat wave, This was what caused the initial deaths. A stampede followed which caused the deaths of most pilgrims.’’
Amoung the Nigerian casualties are, Veteran journalist, Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf, as well as one of Nigeria’s respected Islamic intellectuals, Prof. Tijani El-Miskin.
El-Miskin was said to be a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies. He was also the Chairman of Borno State Pilgrims Welfare Board.
Though this year recorded the worst deaths recorded at the pilgrimage , it isn’t actually the first. 266 pilgrims had died in 1994 while 98 others were injured at the stoning site that year. Ten years later, 251 pilgrims died in 2004 and in 2006, 346 also died.