Seven Nigerian pilgrims to this year’s hajj exercise have died in Saudi Arabia, the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) has revealed.

Furthermore, Mousa Ubandawaki, the commission’s deputy director of information and publication said 30 Nigerian pilgrims who suffered some of the psychological effects of flight, crowd and the new environment are currently undergoing treatment.

Ubandawaki said six pregnant women were discovered among the pilgrims, adding that the commission will sanction states where such cases were recorded.

“Seven deaths. Yes, but it is not a mental issue the way people see it. It is psychological, some of them are just travelling outside for the first time,” he said.

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“Some pilgrims have never seen such a crowd before, some have never entered an aircraft, some of these things are termed medical, some of them are just reacting to the new environment they found themselves in, not that they were moving around like mad people. It is due to the environment and you know some of them are from rural areas.

“On the issue of the pregnant women, just like we said, the commission is going to sanction the states concerned. It is the duty of the state pilgrim welfare boards to carry out pregnancy tests for intending female pilgrims.

“It is not that it is outlawed but the activities of hajj are very tedious and when you look at the activities of hajj, for somebody carrying pregnancy to be moving around, it is a physical exercise and can affect women with pregnancy. That is why we are discouraging pregnant women from embarking on hajj.

“Definitely NAHCON is going to sanction those states where the pregnant pilgrims come from. The pregnant women are just six.”