Saraki, Wike, Others Lament Nigerians’ Death In Saudi Stampede



SHOCK and grief have greeted the death of veteran Nigerian journalist and civil society activist, Hajiya Bilikisu Yusuf, and Deputy Secretary General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Prof. Tijjani Abubakar El-Miskin during the stampede that claimed the lives of 717 pilgrims performing this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Bilikisu was the most prominent journalist from Northern Nigeria for several decades. She was Editor of the Sunday Triumph newspapers in the early 80s and became the Editor of the New Nigerian newspaper in 1987. She also served as Editor of Citizen magazine in 1990.

Bilikisu was also known for her activism within the civil society circle. She served as the Deputy National Amirah of the Federated Organisation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOWMAN).

In his reaction, the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday expressed shock over the news of the stampede where over 805 others sustained various degrees of injuries.

Saraki, in a statement by his Media Office, said he was pained and saddened that such tragic incident could still occur despite the safety instructions the Saudi Arabian authorities issued to pilgrims.
He also called on the Saudi authorities to review the safety rules governing activities around places where the hajj rites usually take place.
“We are pained. The death of pilgrims who came to worship from different parts of the world is too much for us to bear. We recorded over 100 deaths and 331 injured others when a crane crashed in Kaaba, Mecca about two weeks ago and now, hundreds of Muslim faithful lost their lives while performing the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.

My heart goes out to the families of those that lost their lives in this tragic incident as I pray Almighty Allah to grant Aljannah Fidaus to souls of all those who lost their lives.
“I also pray for quick recovery for those that sustained injuries during the stampede. May Allah give the families of the victims the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Saraki stated.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has also commiserated with Muslims in Nigeria and the world over the stampede.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Kobani, passed the condolence message yesterday as he received a delegation of Muslim faithful during a courtesy visit to the Government House, Port Harcourt.

I commiserate with you and the entire Muslims in the world over the unfortunate incident that occurred in Arafat recently where a number of Muslim brothers and sisters were killed.
“I know that this is a very painful period, especially as some prominent Nigerians were also among those killed. We pray that Almighty Allah ensures that they get to paradise.”

While reacting to the death of Bilikisu and other Nigerian victims, the Special Assistant to Kaduna State Governor on Media and Publicity, Mallam Samuel Aruwan said, “it is a sad loss to Kaduna Government.”
“The Governor has high regard for Bilikisu Yusuf and holds her in high esteem. I have travelled with her on several occasions. She was passionate about humanitarian work and was committed to issues that would be of development to women and children in general,” Aruwan added.

Also, the media aide to former Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, while eulogising Bilikisu, said: “Hajiya Yusuf used to call me and she always insisted that we must not go on combative issues and that our politics should be issue-based. We ran an NGO, Interfaith, together with Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon. Her contributions were always respected. It is a sad loss to the state.”

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