From Umar Dankano,Mecca
Over 50,000 out of a total of 64,986 Nigeria Pilgrims have so far arrived Mecca and madina with ten others reported died ahead of this year’s hajj pilgrimage. The Coordinator of the National Hajj Commission in Mecca, Dr. Aliyu Tanko, has disclosed yesterday.
Dr.Tanko explained to journalists that, virtually the 50,000 Nigerians that had so far arrived Mecca, have since perform the Umrah rites with minimal death cases.
In a telephone chat in Mecca, Tanko said that, the commission’s three clinics in Mecca and those set up by the various state pilgrims boards provide effective medical services to Nigerian pilgrims in Mecca.
He urged pilgrims to always seek medical advice before embarking on pilgrimage and warned them against exposing themselves to the harsh weather in the Holy Land.
He added that the remaining pilgrims of the Nigeria performing this year’s pilgrimage were transported to the Holy Land by tour operators.
In a related development, two lounges were provided at Jeddah airport to check African pilgrims for Ebola, with King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) directing the two lounges to receive pilgrims coming from Nigeria and some other African countries as a preventive measure against the Ebola virus.
“So far 118,000 pilgrims have arrived by air from Nigeria. There was not a single suspected case of the deadly virus among anyone of them,” said Abdul Ghani Al-Malki, supervisor of Haj affairs at the terminal.
He said that aircrafts coming from Nigeria are also thoroughly checked against the deadly virus.
According to him, an integrated plan was implemented at the airport to prevent the spread of Ebola. ‘’Emergency doctors and consultants in infectious diseases are participating in the execution of the plan in addition to qualified teams who are capable of checking the virus,’’ said he.
Al-Malki said pilgrims arriving from all parts of the world are being checked against contagious diseases, stressing that, “We are particularly checking pilgrims coming from countries with reported cases of Ebola including Nigeria, Kenya and Congo,” he said.
The Saudi Kingdom has prevented entry of pilgrims from the Ebola-infected countries in West Africa namely Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. While any suspected case will be transported immediately to King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah for quarantining and treatment.
Our correspondent observed that special forms were distributed among all airline companies containing questions for the pilgrims to answer.
“The pilgrims are asked about their whereabouts for the last 21 days which is the incubation period of the virus,” Abdur Razaq Halliru Gozaki a Nigerian Port Health official now performing pilgrimage.