Bawumia Safe In Mecca

Curious Ghanaians who sought information about the vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were relieved when word was transmitted back late last Thursday that the politician is well and sound.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira are among thousands of Ghanaians performing this year’s Hajj. His trip, unlike the others, is at the invitation of the Saudi King – a privilege which comes with an assortment of courtesies.

Over 1,000 pilgrims, some of them from Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Mali and Iran, are thought to have died when pilgrims approaching from the opposite direction at the Jamarah Bridge – where the symbolic throwing of pebbles at Satan takes place – were caught up in a crowd crash.

An expert on crowd control speaking to BBC, had denied that what happened was a stampede,   preferring to call it a crowd crash.

Various theories have been adduced to the cause of the accident that claimed the huge number of lives at this year’s pilgrimage. One claims that the accident occurred when Saudi security personnel sought to make way for a prince and other special dignitaries in the course of which pilgrims approaching from opposite directions crashed into each other.

Some prominent Nigerians were among the dead at Jamrat.

One of them was Tijani El-Miskin, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Maiduguri and former head of special training course for the students of Arabic Studies at the University of Maiduguri in Gamboru.

He also was the Chairman of the Borno State Pilgrims Board.

Another victim was Bilkisu Yusuf, the first female editor from the northern part of Nigeria.

She studied political science in Nigeria and the USA and journalism in Russia. After that Bilkisu Yusuf pursued a successful career in journalism in Nigeria, working for Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers and several local editions in Kano and Kaduna states.

Another well known citizen among the victims was Hafsat Shittu, a member of Nigeria’s medical team.

Many of the victims were from Lagos, Katsina and Borno.

By A.R. Gomda

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