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By NBF News
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This year's haji rites peak today with the convergence of over two million pilgrims from across the world at Mount Arafat. As from the wee hours of Sunday, the pilgrims proceeded to Muna, the City of Tent, where they were expected to spend the night before departing to Arafat today.

The stay in Arafat, which mainly involves congregational prayers as well as personal supplications, would come to an end by sunset today when the pilgrims proceeded to Muzdalifa, where they would pass the night.

In preparations for the hajj rites, it was beehive of activities for officials of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), as they engaged in series of meetings that would ensure a hitch-free hajj exercise. Daily Sun gathered that meetings were held with food providers, who were to feed all Nigerians pilgrims during the three days stay at Muna as well as at the holy site of Arafat.

NAHCON Commissioner in charge of Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance (PPMF), Alhaji Liad Tella, had earlier disclosed the plan of the commission to centralize the feeding of Nigerian pilgrims to ensure proper sanitation programme at Muna. The centralized feeding system would be the first to be experimented by the commission since its inauguration in 2005.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Health, disclosed that it had deployed its officials to the holy sites of Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifa to complement efforts by NAHCON medical team. In a statement signed by the Head, Committee for Containment of Disease Outbreak Hajj 2010, Saidu Ahmed Dumbulwa, on behalf of the Minister of Health, it was stated that the ministry officials would also engage in health education for the pilgrims as well as ensure personal hygiene and general sanitation in camps occupied by Nigerian pilgrims.

Head, Medical Team of NAHCON, Ibrahim Kana, also told Daily Sun on phone on Saturday that 50 mobile clinics and three hospitals had been commissioned at the three holy sites for the benefit of Nigerian pilgrims.

Disclosing the preparations of his team for the three-day rites, Kana disclosed that health officials had been deployed to Muna and Arafat plain to attend to Nigerian pilgrims. He further disclosed that special ambulance would be used to convey sick pilgrims on admission at the Nigeria medical mission to Arafat plain in order not to miss the hajj rites.

'We have well-equipped mobile clinics, 50 in number, which have been deployed to Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifa for the use of Nigerian pilgrims. Three hospitals have also been opened at Muna and Arafat plain for the use of all Nigerian pilgrims. So, we are prepared for the rites,' Kana stated yesterday.

Meanwhile, Kana disclosed on Saturday that Nigeria had lost nine pilgrims so far from its 85, 000 pilgrims that were in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the hajj exercise, including a new born baby delivered by a female pilgrim from Niger State.

Disclosing the casualty figure, Kana stated that so far, Nigeria had lost one pilgrim each from Edo, Zamfara, Kebbi and Gombe states, while Sokoto and Bauchi states lost two pilgrims each. One of the dead pilgrims, suspected to have a psychiatrist case, was said to have jumped down from a storey building in Medina.