About four Nigerian pilgrims have lost their lives since the commencement of the 2017 hajj, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said.

Making this disclosure Tuesday was the Chairman/CEO of the Commission, Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad.

He spoke at the pre-Arafat meeting of stakeholders in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

While regretting the demise of the affected pilgrims, he however said the Commission was going to make the names of the victims public after reaching out to the families of the deceased.

Corroborating the NAHCON boss, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, Chairman, Medical Matters said the identities of the victims were being kept under wraps.

He however disclosed that one of the deceased hails from Kwara state just as he noted that the death rate for this year’s hajj is the lowest in recent times.

Dr. Kana further revealed that there was a delivery by a pilgrim from Kwara state while there was one miscarriage.

Meanwhile, the NAHCON boss has hinted that Nigerians who want to renew their pilgrimage henceforth are expected to pay additional 2,000 riyals, a levy, he said was imposed by the Saudi Arabia authorities.

According to him, this new levy becomes necessary in view of some of the reforms introduced by the Saudi government.

He spoke just as he urged the tour operators to prepare the pilgrims for onward movement to Minna for the commencement of the hajj rites Wednesday.

Speaking earlier, the Charge’d Affairs, Nigerian Embassy, Riyadh, Ambassador Salisu Umar impressed on tour operators the need to be alive to their responsibilities to the pilgrims. This, he said, is germane to the successful implementation of the 2017 hajj operations.

Specifically, he advised the operators to make sure the respective pilgrims under their custody need to be aware of the extant laws of Saudi Arabia and try as much as possible not to flout such laws as doing so has dire consequences.

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