Hajj 2016: Keen to avoid 2015 disaster, Saudi, Nigeria adopt new measures for pilgrims


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj have adopted new measures to simplify the annual ritual and secure pilgrims.

Over 2000 pilgrims died last year following a stampede on their way the Jamarat for the symbolic stoning of the devil. About10 per cent of the victims were Nigerians.

In order to avoid a repeat of the disaster, the Saudi ministry has decided to schedule the stoning ritual in batches for all countries.

The Nigerian officials have also decided to use the services of guides who will be leading Nigerian pilgrims in batches of 250 people-

The head of Makkah operations for NAHCON, Aliyu Tanko, who spoke to Journalists on Sunday after an enlightenment program for pilgrims from Adamawa State, said “the authorities have designed a new format that they want us to follow”.

Mr. Tanko said the new format begins with the movement of pilgrims from their accommodations in Makkah to Muna.

No pilgrim will be left in Makkah, he said.

“After this, movement of pilgrims will begin in buses to the plain of Arafat in the night of the 8th of Dhul Hijjah.

“When movement of Pilgrim to Arafat begins there would be no any other vehicle on the road apart from the buses conveying the pilgrims,” he said.

He also said by the new arrangement, pilgrims would have the opportunity to stay in Arafat throughout the day unlike in previous years when some pilgrims would be arriving Arafat at almost close to sunset.

“With the new arrangement, we hope that all our pilgrims would be in Arafat by 9-10 in the morning so that they would have the full day to do all their supplications”.

By sunset the pilgrims would move from Arafat to Muzdalifa.

The NAHCON boss also said that this year, staying throughout the night in Muzdalifa after spending the whole day at Arafat is optional.

Previously, pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifa from Arafat where they would spend the whole night, pick their pebbles and proceed to the Jamarat for the stoning ritual the following morning.

Mr. Tanko however, said, in the new arrangement, “Pilgrims can perform their Maghrib and Isha prayer, rest a little in Muzdalifa and then proceed back to their tents in Muna and relax”.

He said pilgrims could, however, stay overnight in Muzdalifa and proceed to their tents at dawn the following day.

Avoiding stampede

Mr. Tanko said Hajj authorities have also decided to modify the process of stoning the Jamarat for security reasons.

“This year, there is a major change. Before this year, when pilgrims arrive at Muzdalifa, they pick their pebbles and go to Jamarat where they throw their pebbles.

“But because of what happened last year and in order to protect the lives of pilgrims, the authorities decided to ask everybody to return to their tents in Muna, rest and wait for their schedule as there would be time scheduled for each country,” he said.

He also said, on its part, NAHCON has secured the services of guides who are assigned to every state.

He said the job of the guides would be to lead Nigerian pilgrims from their tents in batches of 250 to Jamarat for the stoning and back.

“These guides are people who know the terrain very well. We have enough trained guides for all our pilgrims. We have about 18 to 20 for each state.

“By this arrangement, the issue of pilgrims missing their way back from Jamarat which used to be rampant is now over,” he said.

Mr Tanko said the schedule to be released by the Saudi authorities will be circulated among Nigerian pilgrims by Monday.

He also said the commission will take the enlightenment to all Nigerian pilgrims in Makkah in their accommodation. He said his team would be having a parley$ with pilgrims from the Nigerian Armed Forces late on Sunday.

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  • Ade Akinmuulire

    I just came back from church and had my lunch. I put on the generator to have light to surf the net.
    I am disappointed. Premium Times is not happy that Bola Tinubu’s anointed candidate was badly
    defeated at the Ondo state governorship primary. All other newspapers and internet sites put it
    as front story. Premium Times did not even mention it at all. Premium Times is only talking about
    Islamic pilgrimage where future suicide and terrorist bombers are trained to return home to kill.
    Premium Times must hide in shame. No weapon fashion against Ondo state shall prosper.



      • emmanuel

        You do all this to get 70 virgins when you die? So who would do the women when they die? If i were your women, i would rather opt out of the fraudulent arrangement called Islam.
        A men become a terrorist and get 70 women to do when he dies and the woman who blows herself up is left unserviced, because all the guys would be busy with their seventy virgins.
        Two common factors of islamist men – homosexuals and terrorism/violence!



          • emmanuel

            Na kube/monkey tail dey worry you. Your brain seem highly worn from incessant abuse of banned substances!



  • emmanuel

    What has this got to do with Nigeria that has entered into recession and by January 2017 it would effectively be in depression? The dangers then would be unquantifiable.
    Many be depression would be a matter of semantics!

  • Foreign News Reel

    U.S Congressman writes President Obama to suspend support for BUHARI

    “I am encouraged by the personal interest you have taken in aiding Nigeria and its administration as it takes on endemic corruption, multiple insurgent movements, and a faltering economy. However, I believe there are a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies.

    I would urge the US to withhold its security assistance to the nation until President Buhari demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech.

    A logical start towards this commitment is for the Nigerian government to hold accountable those members of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian military complicit in extra-judicial killings and war crimes. Human rights groups like Amnesty International have widely documented torture, inhumane treatment, and extra-judicial killings of defenseless Nigerians since President Buhari took office.”

    ………….U.S Congressman Tom Marino

    [September 4th, 2016]

    • O’Jose

      ………My people……it’s not looking good O……Buhari is losing goodwill very fast……
      ….more than he’s gaining it…..and now…after 15 months…..he has negatives ……
      numbering enough to write a book……….from his blunders overseas…..to this…..
      …huge suspicion… that he’s just another Fulani Islamist hegemonist and northern tribalist……
      ……….but, that’s a smelly body odor to carry around…….if it also includes…… as it does…..
      …….jumping the window of parliament to forge appropriation bills…….. and merely winking….
      …at the genocide of Shiite Muslims… …..and winking at the murders committed daily……..
      ………………….by mad and maddening Fulani herdsmen……………

    • Rommel

      Only after we have concluded military operations in the troubled parts of Nigeria would such nonsense letter from this republican Tom Morino and his likes become sensible,I suspect him already for having sinister relationship with certain ethnic and religious chauvinists in Nigeria, he can go help the Donald win election.

      • Kallah Bature

        Rommel I appreciate your intelligence unlike other gullible Nigerians who believe people like this Congressman without checking their motives.His letter is only coming when the government is battle ready to deal with insurgency in the Niger Delta not before.I smell a rat here.Economic saboteurs with a lot of ill-gotten wealth are capable of anything including negative lobbying.

    • Kallah Bature

      From what I learned about Tom Morino,he is a Republican member of the House of Representatives and a Catholic who supports the death penalty.He sponsored 40 bills in his long sojourn in the Congress and none of them became law.Infact he is just a replica of Fayoses and FFKs of Nigeria.Obama will not take him serious.

  • JasV

    Have you held your government liable for extra judicial killing of blacks by the white racist police in your country? Physician heal thyself first. You hypocrite first remove the big log of wood in your eyes before talking of the speck of dust in Nigeria’s eyes.

  • JasV

    But why are we so dirty? I have seen pilgrims from other countries in their airports, not so dirty looking like pigs and cows being taken to be slaughtered. Airport Authorities, Religious Bodies, please do something. This picture is absolute disgrace.

  • Otile

    What are the Saudi authorities expending resources securing this people for? I thought they were in the hands of Allahu and no harm is supposed to come unto them. Even when a heavy Saudi trailer is coming fast upon them it is not supposed to run them over; even when a legion of them are herded in a shabbily constructed Saudi upstairs, when it collapses none of them is supposed to get hurt. Why then are the authorities wasting scarce currency to secure them? Has Allahu forsaken them? Islamic pilgrims in the hands of Allah my foot.

  • Michael O.Rolwland


    I just want to say something. I am supporting DONALD TRUMP to win U.S presidential election.
    Islam has become a clear and present danger. I support Donald Trump when he promised to
    ban Muslims from entering the United States of America until sanity returns to Islamic nations.
    Nigerian Muslims will be included in that correct ban too. They are not behaving normally too.
    Nigerian Muslims are beheading other people on the basis of Islamic religion. They rape too.
    They do all this in the name of Islam. They’re due for outright ban from entering United States.

    • vagabonds in power

      Either Trump saves America and Nigeria or we will all be dead soon

  • vagabonds in power

    Several thousands of Military Troops, attached to the Headquarters Second Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, are right now heading towards Nembe, in 25 trucks according to the African Opinion Reporter, who witnessed the movements of the stern looking soldiers in Bayelsa state. The soldiers, believed to be on their way to root out Militants fighting for Resource Control in the oil-rich Niger Delta zone of Nigeria.

    Some of the trucks were fully loaded with different types of foodstuffs among other necessities of life, meant for the use of the soldiers. Although it is not yet clear why such a massive movement of troops are being deployed to the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, by the Nigeria Government at a time the head of the Amnesty Scheme, Rtd Brigadier General Boro, was recently quoted as saying the Federal Government, was holding Peace-Talks with leaders of the Niger Delta Region.

    But most watchers of the unfolding events in the volatile Niger Delta Region, are of the opinion that the move, is intended to provide a counter attack, in response to the killing of of 6 soldiers at two Military check points at Ogbolomabiri water ways in Bayelsa state…….

    • Otile

      Among other things Imam Olodo is planning to stage an attack there to divert attention from the economic depression Nigeria is heading to. Most hopeless rulers often resort to violence when people criticize their style of poor leadership.

  • ed

    How much is it going to cost Nigeria forex to pay for all this Islamic stone thrower to travel all the way to Saudi Arabia. Just to stone the devil, when you have the devil all over the sharia Calipate in Nigeria.
    Let’s save money and officially get Sultan of Sokoto to name one Boko Haram De Devil.
    Muslim can then travel to Sokoto and stone the devil.
    That will free up forex for our industry.

    • UOU

      I wonder oooo????

  • SAM .A

    Let somebody take statistics of these people going to Mecca this year, how many of them actually fulfill the the 5th Pillar of Islam , that is; if and only it you have the money and you can afford it go to Mecca . More than 50% of these people go on Federal Government and State Government money . Many Governors and their officers who have been to Mecca before keep going every now and then to lesser Hajj . It is time to stop these spiritual hypocrisy . Let only those the Koran has to go , go rather than using money for infrastructure and go and fleece it in a Country that have unbeatable infrastructure . It is time to scrap going to Jerusalem , Isreal , with State and FG money . I can say it as a christian , there is no where in the Bible where Jesus Christ ask Christian to go to Jerusalem as a condition of their faith , those who go are copy cats They go on tourism . Remember Jonathan , Jona Jang and Stella Oduah in Jerusalem. All the fund FG and State Governments have spent on this project will build 100 Universities and 200Hospitals well furnished . Time to take a second look at it

  • favourtalk

    That is very good for the safety of the people coming to the holy land

  • Bingo Buhari escapes to Mali

    Marino’s letter to Kerry causes commotion in Aso Rock–as Militants down two Alpha jet planes!

    : The Federal Government has described as ‘’sadly out of tune with reality’’ the published letter from US Congressman Tom Marino to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking the US to withhold security assistance to Nigeria on the strength of some purported infraction by the Buhari Administration.

    The member of the United States Congress had written a letter to Secretary of State, John Kerry, asking the US government to withhold security assistance to Nigeria until President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrates a “commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech”.

    He had also asked the State Department to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria until Buhari establishes a track record of working towards inclusion.

    In a two-page letter dated September 1, 2016 and addressed to Kerry, Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania, who assumed office on January 3, 2011, said there were a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal “the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies”.—————————–