According to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj, this year’s Hajj season drew 1,833,164 pilgrims.

Meanwhile, despite the efforts by the Saudi Hajj authorities, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and private Hajj operators, things are in fact not looking up for Nigerian pilgrims when they arrived at Mina from Muzdalifah for the stoning rituals.

There was delay for the pilgrims to perform the ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual due to overbooking of VIP Tent A.

The major cause of the lodging hiccups was due to overcrowding in Tent A, which is for the VIPs.

According to reports, Tent A is closer to the Jamarat, leading to large numbers of pilgrims opting  for it.

It was revealed that over 7, 000 pilgrims paid for 2,000 spaces in Tent A, which led to overcrowding.

One of the pilgrims who spoke with us said, “They didn’t let us in because they say we are not on the system.

“That we cheated to get in there and are cheating others of their rightful place.

“I said we didn’t cheat anyone and he said then someone collected money and cheated us, Hasbunallah.

Another pilgrim who claimed to have been staying for long inside the sun also added, “They kicked us out of the camp and told us to go to some other place.

“We have no idea where it is, and we’re just sitting here in the sun, waiting for someone to help us.

Apparently, the pilgrims will have to make do with this predicament in order to complete their Hajj rituals. “There is insufficient space in the tent to accommodate so many pilgrims. At the end of the day, we live like homeless people.

Furthermore, another pilgrim said, “The new place to which we have been relocated is 44mins away on foot. I can’t possibly walk that distance.

“I thought I would be able to locate the new place 16 instead of 17 but not even the police could direct me.

Another pilgrim added, “We didn’t see any Taxi, we walked.

“I walked completely out of Mina for few kilometres before I got one. We were 9 in the vehicle.

“We can’t find our way to the tent. We have been walking for over 10 hours.

Another pilgrim who eventually got a space to stay after hours of trekking but later ejected again, said, “We are back outside again as the real occupants of where we stayed later show up.

Meanwhile, one of the Nigerian Hajj operators reacting to the sad experience said, “We sincerely apologise for the drama we encountered yesterday when we got to VIP Tent A.

“It is unfortunate that many of our people had this bitter experience. It all started at Arafat when they changed all our bracelets and they claimed that the new bracelets will give us access to Mina

“They eventually gave us new bracelets and they retrieved the old ones from us.

“What happened at the VIP tent was a case of overbooking as we were made to know that some guys from Nigeria paid outside the system and they even paid more than double of the cost of the actual price.

“There are obviously saboteurs among us. We have taken this up and we will ensure it gets to the right people in order to seek redress.

“For your information, we would not have gotten our VIP cards and bracelets plus transportation if we had not done the needful.

“We will InShaa Allah get the the details of our our VIP pilgrims that show they are in Tent A.

“It is also unfortunate that some people practically forced themselves in yesterday night when everything got out of control. May Allah accept our hajj, he added.”