President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he was deeply saddened by the tragedy which occurred on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, claiming the lives of hundreds of pilgrims, including some Nigerians.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President, who is currently attending the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, described the stampede at Mina, in which a notable Nigerian journalist, Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf, Prof. Tijjani El-Miskin and others lost their lives as a monumental tragedy, not only for citizens of the countries involved, but for the global Islamic community.
He extended his condolences to the families of the over 700 pilgrims who lost their lives in the disaster which occurred less than two weeks after a crane collapse in Mecca claimed more than a hundred lives.
The statement read in part, “President Buhari commiserates with the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Union of Journalists on the sad loss of Hajiya Bilkisu, an exemplary, dedicated, knowledgeable, very credible, highly-respected, outstanding editor and columnist who, even in death, will remain a glittering role model for journalists, within and outside Nigeria.
“The President has taken note of the assurance by the Government of Saudi Arabia that Thursday’s catastrophe will be investigated and urges King Salman to ensure a comprehensive and thorough exercise that will identify any flaws in Hajj organisation with a view to avoiding a recurrence of such tragedies during the annual pilgrimage.
“In the knowledge that it is not within our powers to question the will of God, President Buhari prays that Almighty Allah will comfort the families who lost their beloved ones in the stampede and receive the souls of all those who died in the Holy Land while fulfilling the religious obligation of the Hajj.”