Hajj 2018: Nigerian Pilgrim dies in malfunctioning Saudi elevator

Abdul Mohammed Isa, Makkah-Saudi Arabia

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A pilgrim from Niger state in North central Nigeria has died after falling from a faulty elevator in a ten story building in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

The deceased, a male who has yet to be named, is said to be from Chanchaga Local Government Area of the state.

Initial eye witness reports suggested that he was trapped in one of the faulty elevators and died of suffocation, on his way down to the ground floor from the seventh floor of the building on Wednesday morning.

Voice of Nigeria however, learnt that the pilgrim fell through the elevator crevice and died instantly.

Faulty elevator
Nigerian Pilgrims in the hotel told Voice of Nigeria that they had complained about the malfunctioning elevators but got no positive response.

His travel companions in the hotel said the pilgrim had finished packaging his luggage and was waiting to be scheduled for his return journey to Nigeria after completing the Hajj pilgrimage.

“All the lifts in this hotel are faulty. We have been complaining to the management but nothing has been done. About three people were also trapped in one of the lifts this morning,” one of the pilgrims in the hotel said.

The hotel, located on Ibrahim Khalil street in Makkah City, is one of the buildings officially allocated to Niger State pilgrims.

Stay calm
Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board officials who rushed to the scene are working closely with officials of the Saudi Arabian Civil Defence to ascertain the circumstances of the incident.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Team for this year’s Hajj, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, has pleaded with the state’s pilgrims to remain calm.

Alhaji Abubakar said: “We are awaiting the response of the Saudi authorities investigating the matter before taking further action.”

NAHCON condolence
Following the tragic incident, the management of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON has paid a condolence visit to the leadership of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board in Makkah.

Chairman of the Commission, Barrister Abdullah Mukhtar Muhammad, said the incident was saddening and unfortunate.

 

He prayed to Allah to forgive the dead and give the family, the government and people of Niger State and the pilgrims in particular, the fortitude to bear the loss.

Representative of the Chairman during the condolence visit and NAHCON Commissioner for Health Services, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, said first response to the scene were medical personnel from his office, who certified the victim as dead.

He expressed dismay that the lift had been faulty for days but no measures were taken by the house authorities and even the Niger State officials to seal the elevator, to prevent the occurrence of the unfortunate incident.

Dr Kana said the Saudi authorities and their security agents have waded into the issue and their reports will be communicated officially to Nigeria.

More condolences
In his remarks, the Niger State Amirul Hajj, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji thanked NAHCON Management for the condolence visit and prompt arrival at the scene of the incident.

He however, called for thorough investigations and sanctions on anyone found to have been negligent, to serve as a deterrent against a recurrence.

In his own message, the Executive Secretary of Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Muhammad Abba Dambatta, on behalf of Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board and Kano State Pilgrims condoled the Chairman of NAHCON and the Executive Secretary of both Niger and Kaduna State Welfare Boards on the death of their pilgrims in Makkah on Wednesday morning.

He prayed to Allah to forgive them and give their family, the fortitude to bear the losses.

Nnenna.O