By Olusola Alatise
The Ondo state government yesterday announced that four of the state’s pilgrims to the 2015 hajj operation have been confirmed dead while six are still missing, calling on the National Pilgrims Commission to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to protect intending pilgrims.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade while speaking at a media briefing jointly addressed with his Women Affairs counterpart, Lady Yemi Mahmud-Fasominu in Akure said “government commiserates with the families of the dead,” while calling on the people of the state to pray for the bereaved families for the fortitude to bear the losses.
The government also enjoined the people to pray for those who are still missing so that they can re-unite with their families in due course.
He said government is organising a special Jumat service in memory of the departed at the Akure Central Mosque on Friday while the prayer sessions will hold simultaneously in all Mosques across the state, even as all are urged to continue to pray for the repose of the dead.
Also speaking, Mrs. Fasominu said that of the 312 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from Ondo State, 302 have returned.
“Ondo State Executive Council has decided to let the general public know the true situation of things regarding the last September stampede in Saudi Arabia that involved hundreds of Nigerians and Ondo State pilgrimss inclusive.
“The state government has declared Friday this week a prayer day in the entire mosques across the state during the Jumat service for the repose of the four confirmed dead and quick recovery of the six that are still missing. ”
She said Ondo State Government has been doing everything possible to ensure that pilgrims from the state to both Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem have hitch free pilgrims, but that the last September 23 stampede during the last hajj was an international disaster.
Commissioner for Women Affairs said Federal Government should ensure that adequate provision is made by way of insurance for all the pilgrims from Nigeria to Mecca and Jerusalem.
Commenting on the probability of paying compensation to the families of the victims, Akinmade assured “The Hajj stampede is not only a national disaster but international tragedy and whatever is due for the families of victims will be given to them. Federal Government is taking step to ensure that victims are compensated,”