President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha; President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Muhammed, are among Nigerians who are already in Saudi Arabia for the commencement of this year’s hajj.
The Nigerian pilgrims joined others from other parts of the country to move into Mina on Friday in preparation for Mount Arafat on Saturday and thereafter, Jamrat, the symbolic stoning of the devil.
The representative of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Aliyu Tanko, had earlier said Nigerian pilgrims would go for Jamrat from Mina instead of Muzdalifah to avoid loss of lives.
Tanko had told stakeholders in Makkah on Thursday night that the movement from Arafat to Muzdalifah which started at the same time for all countries required a deliberate strategy to avoid confusion and difficulties.
According to arabnews.com, more than one million livestock have been provided for meat sacrifice to cater for this year’s Hajj pilgrims.
It quoted the chairman of both the Islamic Development Bank Group and the committee overseeing the project, Dr Bandar Al-Hajjar, as saying that more than 40,000 operators, technicians and supervisors will be working to meet pilgrims’ demands.
It further quoted the Saudi General Authority for Statistics as saying that 30,908 individuals, including 8,685 women, would be employed in providing health and emergency services during the exercise.
These include workers from the Ministry of Health, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority as well as those providing health services from the security and military sectors.
The total number of medical and ambulance personnel employed during the Hajj season was put at 1,141, and the authority said that health, therapeutic, preventive and ambulance services for pilgrims would be provided free by the Ministry of Health through specialised teams of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, technicians and administrators with a staff of more than 27,797.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority was also said to have allocated 132 temporary relief centres, 370 ambulances, 20 bicycles and 2,811 people for emergency teams and manpower in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites to cover all medical and emergency services for pilgrims.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority, with a staff of 300, will be responsible for supervising food, medicines, medical devices and products being brought by pilgrims and Hajj missions.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to pray for Nigeria as they join millions of Muslims across the globe to observe the Arafat on Saturday.