Miffed with the high number of pregnant women to Saudi Arabia for the just concluded 2023 Hajj exercise, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has threatened to sanction the State Pilgrim Welfare Boards, agencies and commissions that allowed pregnant pilgrims to travel to the Holy Land for pilgrimage.
The commissioner in charge of planning, research, statistics, information and library services, Sheikh Suleiman Momoh, stated this while answering questions from journalists in Makkah.
No fewer than nine pregnant cases were recorded during the just concluded Hajj exercise among Nigerian female pilgrims, out of which three deliveries and one miscarriage were recorded.
But Sheikh Momoh absolved NAHCON of any wrong doing, saying state officials were responsible for the unfortunate embarrassment and will face the consequences of their actions.
“When we get back to Abuja, the commission would explore disciplinary options for the states that allowed pregnant pilgrims to travel for Hajj.
“We will look at the merits of each of the states’ cases and decide the disciplinary measures to dish out to them. We have internal mechanisms on how to deal with these issues. Whatever we decide, Nigerians will get to know,” Momoh said.
He told journalists that NAHCON conducted pregnancy tests for all pilgrims that came through it and two of its female staff that were tested positive for pregnancy were stopped from coming for Hajj.
He said according to findings, medical personnel with one of the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards called the attention of the officials that some intending pilgrims were pregnant but the executive secretary ignored and overruled them and allowed the pregnant women to travel for Hajj.
Stressing that such states will be identified and sanctioned accordingly, Suleiman insisted that NAHCON will not allow the states to handle their own medical arrangements.
The head of NAHCON medical team, Dr Usman Galadima, had disclosed that out of the seven pregnant women that were discovered in the early days, one was delivered of a baby via cesarean session when the foetus was seven-month-old (the baby is now dead) while another pregnant woman had a miscarriage due to the stress of the Hajj exercise.
He listed the states that produced the seven pregnant women at that time to include Sokoto (2), Katsina (1), Yobe (1), Adamawa (1), Kwara (1) and Plateau (1).