chapter  14
18 Pages

Religion for Rulers

WithDavid Williams

In the 1981 Pilgrimage “Season” some 879,000 non-Saudi pilgrims made the Hajj - the Pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Among these the Nigerians, just over 100,000, were the largest group, followed by 83,000 Egyptians. There were some 22,275 more Nigerians than in 1980, when Alhaji Shehu Shagari, as President, making his fifth pilgrimage since his first in 1960, was among the Nigerian group. He was accompanied by numerous entourage, including the Governors of Bauchi, Niger and Sokoto, the Emirs of Ilorin and Zaria, the Grand Khadi of Sokoto, and Alhaji Suleiman Takuma, national secretary of the National Party of Nigeria. “Amirul-Hajj”, or overseer of the Pilgrimage; and on January 31, 1973, he led a delegation to Saudi Arabia to study the problems. In that pilgrimage season cholera had broken out in Nigeria. The Saudi authorities, uncertain whether they had been inoculated, put the first Nigerian arrivals into quarantine and for a time banned further arrivals.