The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has on Sunday confirmed that 145 Nigerians were killed in the Sept. 24 Hajj Stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia.
Addressing pressmen in Mecca in an update, NAHCON’s commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Information and Library Services, Dr Saleh Okenwa, said that seven of the 42 injured pilgrims were still on admission at various hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
According to him, the number of pilgrims earlier declared missing had reduced from 214 to165 following the discovery of additional bodies of some Nigerians killed in the stampede.
Speaking on the transportation of pilgrims back to Nigeria, NAHCON’s Commissioner in charge of Operation, Dr Saleh Modibbo, said that more than 60 per cent of the pilgrims had been transported back to the country.
Specifically, he said that 40,850 of the 76,000 Nigerians, who performed the pilgrimage had been transported back to the country.
The Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, said while fielding questions from newsmen that the Saudi authorities took finger prints of the deceased and that DNA tests would be conducted on mutilated bodies to ascertain whether those declared missing were dead or alive.
“Blood samples of the deceased pilgrims already in Saudi Arabia were taken while that of those who do not have immediate members of their families here will be taken in Nigeria and transported to Mecca for the test,” he stated.