Nigeria, Saudi Arabia in faceoff over attempts to block pilgrims

    The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria says the federal government is taking seriously threats by Saudi authorities to block Nigerian pilgrims from attending the 2018 Hajj.
    The threat from the Saudi Authorities, National Daily learnt followed reports of Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria.
    One of the spokespersons of the Hajj Commission, Mousa Ubandawaki, said the Nigerian authorities are taking the threat from the Saudi Arabian authorities seriously, noting that there will be an expanded meeting of all officials from the 36 states and the federal government to discuss the matter.
    “There will be an expanded meeting of all officials from the 36 states, 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).
    It would be recalled that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in April 5, disclosed that Lassa fever has killed 142 people in Nigeria since the start of 2018.
    The agency since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 142 deaths, with cases reported in 20 of the 36 states of the federation.
    “Eight states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 12 states remain active,” the agency had said in a report.
    The World Health Organization (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 and February 25 2018.
    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.