Nigeria: Over 2.5 Million Muslims to Perform This Year's Hajj

Over 2.5 million Muslim faithful from around the world will participate in this year's hajj ritual, starting Friday.

The Arab country also announced the deployment of 30,908 paramedics to cater for pilgrims during the days of worship.

The Director-General of the Directorate of Passports in Saudi Arabia, Suleiman Alyahya, said the Kingdom has admitted a total of 1,838,339 pilgrims for the hajj, as at noon on Wednesday.

Of the total, Nigeria accounts for some 65,000, according to the acting chairman of Nigeria's National Hajj Commission, Abdullahi Mohammed.

Mr Mohammed said the commission has concluded arrangements to cater for the 45,000 pilgrims it flew to the Kingdom, as well as supervise treatment of others who came through tour operators.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Jeddah, the Saudi Immigration chief said the Kingdom has brought up innovative ideas to ease off the transportation of pilgrims this year.

Mr Alyahya, a brigadier-general, however, said the country has deported 300 pilgrims who arrived with fake visa documents.

He said biometric capture of pilgrims entering KSA takes only between 15-20 seconds, adding that flights that come a little late are usually due to technical faults.

Mr Alyahya commended the ministries of Interior, Health, Customs, Airports, the Police, Military as well as Hajj and Umrah who have provided services for the success of the operation.

He said one of the major successes recorded this year is that pilgrims do not have to wait for their luggage upon arrival at the airport. He said luggage are delivered to pilgrims at their accommodation.

Medical Provision

The Saudi General Authority for Statistics said 30,908 individuals, including 8,685 women will be providing medical and emergency services during the hajj rituals.

The Ministry of Health has assigned a specialised team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others to cater to the needs of the pilgrims.

There are 16 operating hospitals in Makkah and its surrounding areas, as well as 125 health centres equipped to cater to emergencies. There are also 68 teams of medical personnel stationed across the holy sites.

The report also said that the Saudi Red Crescent Authority has allocated more than 36 permanent relief centres and 89 temporary centres along with over 2,700 employees in all emergency specialities supported by approximately 370 ambulances equipped with the latest technology and medical equipment.

These emergency medical facilities are located in Makkah, the Grand Mosque, Madinah, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.

The authority has also allocated a full range of mechanized and fully equipped manpower to benefit from support plans during the season, emergency situations or disasters, including 66 technicians, specialists, more than 25 ambulances and equipped vehicles.

The health authority will continue to provide its air ambulance service during this year's Haj. This will be in cooperation with the Presidency of State Security, represented by Security Aviation and the Ministry of Defense, represented by the Medical Evacuation service.

In this regard, the authority, in collaboration with its partners, has allocated five aircraft, provided with the latest emergency medical equipment to cover the holy sites during the Haj season.

A government statement said all health and ambulance crews will be working around the clock during the Haj season till August 21.

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