Lagos Pilgrims Protest In Mecca


Over 3,000 pilgrims from Lagos State, South West Nigeria currently performing the  hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia have protested the shoddy treatment meted out to them by  officials of the Lagos State government in the Holy Land.

The protesters threatened to stone the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs and  Culture, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun and members of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board  for neglecting them in Mecca.

The swift intervention of some journalists, including the Chairman, Nigeria Union of  Journalists, NUJ, Lagos Chapel, Alhaji Wahab Oba, brought the situation under  control.

Also, a 60-year old pilgrim from Lagos, Mrs. Oni, popularly known as ‘Dangote’ died  in her sleep on Wednesday in the holy land.

A source who is currently on pilgrimage in Mecca told P.M.NEWS that the protesters  went wild and deflated the tyres of six coaster buses belonging to the officials of  the Lagos State Pilgrims Welfare Board. The aggrieved pilgrims who were preparing to  stone Satan as one of the hajj rites, it was learnt, attempted to stone the  commissioner and his team instead when they discovered that the officials abandoned  them at the Plain of Arafat. There was no arrangement to move them to Musdalifa.

Angered by this, the protesting pilgrims deflated the tyres of the six coaster buses  being used by the officials and prevented them from leaving.

The aggrieved pilgrims disclosed that hajj rules forbid pilgrims from staying in  Arafat beyond 5 p.m. but as at 7 p.m., “Lagos state pilgrims were still in Arafat on  Sunday.”

One of the pilgrims from Surulere, Fatai Haruna, allegedly vowed to make the  government officials pay for their insensitivity to the plight of the pilgrims.

Another pilgrim, Sulaimon Ahmed, lamented the poor communication between the state  officials and the pilgrims, saying: “This is quite unfortunate. Imagine, I paid over  N400,000 for this rite; I am not state-sponsored pilgrim, but where am I now; I am  confused.”

Lagos NUJ chairman, Wahab Oba, blamed the pilgrims for allowing the state pilgrims  welfare board to mess them up because “we look for unnecessary comfort. Hajj is not  for comfort because the holy Prophet did not perform it easily.”

Oba appealed to the officials to improve their handling of pilgrims’ welfare. He  also advised pilgrims to take their fate in their hands because, “it is not sure  that we are going to observe all the necessary key points.”

Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Power and Legislative Bureau,  Alhaji Abdulhakeem Abdulateef, was said to have appeased the pilgrims by promising  to get buses that will take them to Musdalifa and Minna for the stoning of Satan.

A 60-year old woman, Mrs. Oni died in her sleep in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.  She  was said to be a politician from Ward ‘A’ in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos  State.

Dangote, as she was fondly called, died while praying.

“If not that I tried to wake her up for bath on Wednesday morning, no one would have  known that Dangote had passed on,” a friend of the deceased said.

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