• organises demos to prevent stampede during stone pelting
• NAHCON urges pilgrims to follow instructions
Saudi Arabian authorities have announced guidelines and regulations to be followed by pilgrims during the Mina (also known as Muna) and Jamarat exercises at the 2023 hajj.
Muslim News reports that over 2 million Muslim faithful from across the world would be partaking in the hajj rites, the first full-capacity post- COVID-19 pandemic pilgrimage.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in a press release on Friday stated that the guidelines issued by the Saudi Arabia authorities are to ensure safety, security, and orderly conduct at Minna and Jamarat in particular, to avoid stampede during the stone pelting exercise.
The hajj-regulating body therefore charged Nigerian pilgrims to comply strictly with the regulations, adding that Saudi does not want a repeat of stampede incidents that characterised past years.
Organises practical demonstrations against stampede during stone pelting
In a similar development, the Mutawwifs for Pilgrims from African non-Arab Countries on Thursday organised a practical demonstration and rehearsal for grouping and movement during the days of Minna to pelt the Jamaraat.
The session was in collaboration with the Hajj Ministry and Saudi Security and Civil Defence Department and was led by the Head of the Jamarat, Dr. Muhammad Zamzamy, according to the release by NAHCON signed by Principal Information Officer, NAHCON Makkah Operations, Muhammad Ahmad Musa.
“The Saudi authorities have designed and perfected a system of systematic movement of pilgrims led by appointed guides in strict compliance with approved movement timetables and route schedules. The first of the guidelines was that after pilgrims arrive Muzdalifah after Arafat, everyone must wait to be conveyed in buses back to Minna. No one is allowed to move directly to the Jamaraat on the 10th of Dhul Hajj.
“According to Dr. Zamzamy, Nigeria was divided amongst 18 field offices that contained between 5,000 and 7,000 pilgrims. Each field office will liaise with the states or tour operator companies under it to divide its pilgrims into groups of 188 pilgrims only. Each of these groups will have a guide from the Field Office and an assistant from the officials or pilgrims who understand Arabic and the pilgrims local language that will lead the group at their appointed time from their tents in Minna, through their approved route to the Jamaraat and back to their tents.
“Each group guide will hold a signpost containing three (3) fundamental pieces of information that every official and pilgrim should understand. The first (1st) and topmost is the logo of the Mutawwif Company; the second (2nd) is the Field Office Number boldly written in red; and the third (3rd) is the group number.”
NAHCON urges Nigerian pilgrims to adhere strictly to instructions
NAHCON further emphasised the need to follow the regulations by Saudi Arabia, noting it would work with state boards, private tour operators and the Saudi authorities to ensure the safety of Nigerian pilgrims.
“These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of all pilgrims. Any deviation from it exposes pilgrims to risk of stampede. We urge all Nigerian pilgrims to internalize and embrace these teachings for a successful and incident-free hajj experience.
“For the safety of Nigerians and all pilgrims from various parts of the world, this system needs to be abided by completely. It is imperative that all pilgrims strictly adhere to:
• The stipulated time assigned for each group, follow the leader and stick only to the designated approved Routes. No pilgrim or group of pilgrims should go to the Jamaraat alone or in groups other than the approved field office groups.
• Maintain the composition of 188 pilgrims per group, with an assistant who understands the language of the group.
• Under no circumstance should a group stop during the journey, even if any individual faces an issue. Only the affected pilgrim and one supporter should be left behind.
“To monitor and ensure compliance, the Saudi authorities have deployed a dedicated team of 3,000 supervisors to monitor and evaluate the level of compliance of each hajj contingent with the pilgrims grouping and movement instructions for Jamaraat. These supervisors have been carefully selected from various arms and departments for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety and security of the pilgrims during their journey to and from the Jamarat site.”
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