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HAJJ: Lagos board’s ‘insensitivity’ blamed for pilgrim’s death

*As state pilgrim, Oloshogbo Idris, dies, buried in Makkah

*Another rushed to hospital

*Despite N50,000 yellow fever vaccination 

By KEMI KASUMU

On a day President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was presenting the scorecard of his first one year in office as President of Nigeria, pilgrims from Lagos State, his acclaimed base, launched a blame game in far away Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the death of one of them.

That happened on Wednesday May 29, 2024 as some of them blamed the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board for the death of a pilgrim in Makkah on Tuesday May 28.

The pilgrims accused the board of insensitivity to their plight.

Oloshogbo Isiaka Idris lost his life on return from Tawaf (circumambulation) of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

The 68-year-old pilgrim from Somolu Local Government was reported to have died while eating in the evening (after the sunset Solatul Maghrib).

The deceased had been buried in Makkah.

A board member, Waheed Ololade Shonibare, led other state government officials and some pilgrims to observe Janaza for the pilgrim in Kaabah.

The pilgrims accused the board of renting a building far from Haram (Holy Mosque) despite knowing that going to haram is a major requisite of Hajj rites.

“While other states that are not as big as Lagos State got buildings near Haram, Lagos couldn’t. We have elderly people who cannot walk long distances. Many of these old people trekked a long distance to Haram after about eight-hour journey from Madinah,” a pilgrim from Agege said.

It will be recalled that The DEFENDER reported that the Board at Old Secretariat state level was charging N50,000 and at a local government N70,000 for pilgrim’s yellow fever vaccination to be issued a yellow card.

The board, in a rejoinder to the online newspaper, denied charging N70,000 but confirmed charging N50,000.

Other sad events happened climbing up to the commencement of the 2024 Hajj airlifting of pilgrims from the state but unreported.

Pilgrims, who were unable to speak out at home over their plights in the hands of the state’s board officials, are now speaking from abroad having learned their lessons in a big way.

Our Reporter could not get the board’s reaction at home as at the time of filing this report.

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