Justice Abdulkadir Jega of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, has been reported killed in Mina, Saudi Arabia, alongside no fewer than 30 other Nigerians, out of the over 700 people who suffocated to death during last Thursday’s stampede while on pilgrimage in the holy land.
Also confirmed dead in the stampede was Alhaji Abbas Ibrahim, the Emir of Zing in Taraba State and the state’s Amirul Hajj for the 2015 pilgrimage, who died with his two wives in the tragedy.
The chairman of the Taraba State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board who confirmed the First Class traditional ruler’s death to newsmen on Saturday, said the recovered body of the Emir had been buried in Saudi Arabia.
Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Samaila Yombe, who confirmed Jega’s death on Saturday in Saudi Arabia to Newsexpress, an online medium, said the late Jega was trapped and died in the course of going to perform the ritual of stoning the devil (Jamratul Akbar).
He said that apart from the deceased Judge, two other pilgrims from the state were yet to be found, but expressed the hope that they might be among pilgrims who missed their way during the mishap.
The Deputy Governor further disclosed that the Amirul Hajj and Emir of Argungu, Samaila Mera, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Governor Atiku Bagudu’s family members, were among pilgrims who survived the incident.
The Street Journal reports that officials of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCOM) have confirmed that no fewer than 30 Nigerians have so far died in the tragedy.
It would also be recalled that the mass death of foreign nationals has been trailed by a rash of blame game with many countries stressing that the Saudi government should be fully held responsible for the death of their citizens, while Saudi authorities insist that the incident was an act of God.