The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed shock over the reported thousands of deaths and hundreds of injured pilgrims recorded during a stampede that occurred at the ritual ‘Stoning of the Devil’ during the Hajj outside of the holy Muslim city of Mecca.
In a statement by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Secretary General, Comrade Musa Lawal, the congress lamented that it was so painful that while “we were yet grappling with the over a hundred people killed in Mecca when a construction crane fell on the crowded Grand Mosque another one is happening.”
According to the congress, record has it that the last time a tragedy of this magnitude befell pilgrims was in July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims perished in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites near Mecca. It was the ninth in a string of such incidents since then; and we had thought that by now Saudi government should have addressed the cause of such aviodable deaths. It just does not make any sense for people to die in places of worship, especially at an occasion as important as Islam’s most important feast and day of the stoning ritual.
“Apart from the 1,426 pilgrim that died in 1990, 350 pilgrims also died in 2006 which eventually prompted Saudi Arabia to employ some remedial measures. We do not expect this kind of colossal loss at this time and age again. It’s just too grave to bear,” added the TUC.
The labour centre said that the Saudi Arabia government must accept responsibility for this catastrophic loss, and as a matter of urgency order an investigation and a review of the kingdom’s plans for annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The chief workers appealed to families of the bereaved and affected countries to accept their condolences, stating that the Almighty God knows why we all have to suffer such a grave loss at a time terrorists are also killing and destroying properties and economies all over the world.