The director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Makkah Region, Ambassador Mohammed Ahmed Al-Tayeb, has assured that the kingdom will sustain and strengthen the cultural and diplomatic relationship with Nigeria.
He gave the assurance yesterday in Jeddah when he hosted the Nigerian 2015 hajj delegation led by the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II.
He also condoled with Nigeria over the death of scores of her pilgrims who died in the Mina (Jamarat) stampede and also those injured or still missing.
“Those that died as martyrs, may Allah accept their hajj and other ibadah (acts of worships) and may Allah grant the injured speedy recovery. The relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia dated to hundreds of years. I have Nigerian friends and there were Nigerians who were my teachers in primary school in Makkah. We (Nigeria and Saudi Arabia) have been one family, one nation; we share one faith, we have one God, one Prophet and one Ka’aba,” Al-Tayeb said.
He also said the Saudi authorities cannot continue to announce the casualty figures of the dead until the investigative committee set up by the Saudi ruler, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz submits its report.
He, however, warned against politicising the incident and commended all countries whose pilgrims were affected for their patience and cooperation.
Emir Sanusi on his part commended the kingdom for sustaining the relationship with Nigeria and the efforts rendered so far on the Jamarat incident and also on the other efforts to ease hajj rites’ performance by pilgrims.
He, however, urged the ambassador to intervene in ensuring that Nigerians get better tents that would be closer to Jamarat in Mina to ease the hardship being encountered by Nigerian pilgrims.
He also said the efforts of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) led by its chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammed to ensure the welfare of Nigerians for the hajj exercise were hampered by the location of Nigerian tents in Mina.