Nigeria’s death toll in the September 24 Hajj stampede has risen to 99, the national Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said yesterday. Forty-two were injured and 214 are missing.
The Commissioner for Planning, Research Statistic Information and Library Service (PRSILS) at the commission, Dr. Saleh Okenwa, at a briefing in Makkah, said 355 victims from Nigeria were involved in the stampede.
Okenwa said: “We recorded 73 deaths from the state pilgrim welfare boards, agencies and commissions, while the remaining 26 were from the tour operators.
“Those injured were 42, including 41 from the state pilgrims and one from tour operators. The numbers of missing pilgrims from the states were 96 males, 94 females and four males who were officials, totaling 194, while 10 males and 10 females were missing from the tour operators.“ Of those injured, only seven remain in the hospitals on admission and receiving treatment and others have been discharged.”
Responding to a question on the missing, he said: “In the early days people expressed hope but the hope is waning. We cannot declare those missing as dead since there is no evidence to state that.
“The identification of those affected is still being collated by the Saudi Arabia health authorities in conjunction with Nigerian and other health officials.”
A top official of NAHCON, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have little hope left on the 214 missing pilgrims because the 2015 Hajj rites are over. Their likely survival is dim.
“What we are waiting for is the ongoing forensic analysis of finger prints to identify these 214 pilgrims and establish contact with their relations.
“We want to ensure that we go through due process before we reach any conclusion on the fate of the missing 214 pilgrims.”
The states with records of missing pilgrims are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Ekiti, FCT, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina , Kebbi, Lagos and Kwara.
Others are Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.