As part of measures to avoid reoccurrence of the stampede disaster that occurred during last year’s hajj which claimed the lives of over 2,000 pilgrims, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj has introduced a new arrangement to simplify the movement of pilgrims while performing the hajj rituals.
The Head of Makkah operations for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Mallam Aliyu Tanko, stated this in Makkah at an enlightenment programme for pilgrims on the new arrangement.
According to Tanko, “In the past years, the procedure involved in the chain of performing the hajj ritual was that pilgrims after their stay on the plane of Arafat proceeded to Muzdalifa to spend the night and then the next day moved to Jamarat for the symbolic stoning of the devil.
“However, this year the new procedure adopted is that pilgrims after their stay in Muzdalifa would move back to Muna to spend the night where they would be transported to Jamarat in batches for the symbolic stoning of the devil.”
He explained that the Saudi authorities had modified the process of stoning the Jamarat for security and safety reasons. Some Nigerian pilgrims expressed satisfaction with the new arrangement, stating that it would enable them observer the symbolic stoning of the devil with ease.
In an enlightenment forum on the new arrangement for the armed forces pilgrims, the leader of the Nigerian armed forces hajj team, Colonel Shehu Mustapha, said the new step would alleviate the difficulties experienced by pilgrims in observing the hajj ritual.
About three million pilgrims from around the world are expected to perform this year’s hajj exercise which would commence on September 8.