The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has disclosed that the Saudi Arabian authorities are threatening to block Nigerian pilgrims from attending the 2018 Hajj exercise.
NAHCON on Monday, April 23, said the threats by the Saudi authorities followed the reports of Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria.
However, one of the spokepersons of the Hajj Commission, Mousa Ubandawaki, has revealed that the Nigerian authorities are taking the threat from the Saudi Arabian authorities seriously.
“There will be an expanded meeting of all officials from the 36 states of Nigeria, the Commission and officials of the Federal Government to discuss the matter tomorrow,” Ubandawaki said.
The NAHCON official said the meeting will hold at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
In a related report, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) recently stated that Lassa Fever has killed 142 people in Nigeria since the start of 2018.
The agency on April 5, reported a rise of 32 fatalities in one month, saying; “Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 142 deaths. Cases have been recorded in 20 of Nigeria’s 36 states.”
“Eight states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 12 states remain active,” . On March 6, the NCDC reported 110 deaths in 18 states”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also stated that 1081 suspected cases and 90 deaths have been reported from 18 states namely: Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekite, Federal Capital Territory, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba, between January 1 through February 25 this year.
The name of the disease comes from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969. The virus is spread through contact with food or household items contaminated with rats’ urine or faeces or after coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.