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Hajj 2019: Saudi modernises ‘stoning of devil’ rites to avoid stampede

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By Aishat Salihu

In a bid to avert the tragedy of possible stampede at the 2019 Hajj pilgrimage during one of the rites which are the stoning of the three devils at Muna after Arafat day, the Saudi authorities have introduced the electronic system as a measure.

The Representative of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to the Kingdom, Dr Aliyu Tanko, spoke on the new measure on Sunday in Makkah, during a practical demonstration exercise and visitation to Hajj rites’ sites.

Dr Tanko, who is the Makkah Deputy Coordinator led the team of NAHCON officials that included Aliyu Shamaki, Head, Field Office; and Usman Sambo, Human Resource, to the program organised by the Saudi Hajj Ministry on Jamrat(crowd control).

He said the gadgets would record the movement of groups’ leaders until they returned to their tents in Mina while adding that Nigerian pilgrims would be conveyed to ‘Arafaat, Mina, and Muzdalifah by dedicated buses.

He further noted that the initiative was aimed at guaranteeing the safety of pilgrims and avoiding casualties that arose in past incidents.

Meanwhile, the monitoring is part of efforts by NAHCON in ensuring a hitch-free pilgrimage, as the pilgrims prepare to stone the devil in Muna after Arafat day, Aug. 10.

“The new idea is necessitated by the fact that previous stoning was not without some negative developments.”

“Some pilgrims were known to have missed their bearing in the process of stoning the three devils among others,” Tanko said.

He also enjoined NAHCON officials and their counterparts in the states to swing into action by educating the pilgrims, on the need to adapt to the new system, adding that it is meant for their safety as stoning the devil is a crucial process leading to an acceptable Hajj as well as being the climax of the pilgrimage.

Dr Tanko also disclosed that a particular road leading to the stoning of the devil had been dedicated to Nigerian pilgrims, given the fact that Nigeria constitutes one-third of the population of non-Arab countries performing pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia every year.

Although, some security measures were already in place as Nigeria’s tent is set to receive its pilgrims while security personnel guarded the tents, 24 hours to check the breaching of peace during Arafat day.

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