Hajj: Conclude probe into deaths of Nigerian pilgrims – Buhari tells Saudis

By The Citizen

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Saudi Arabian government to conclude investigation into the stampede at Muna last year in which about 274 Nigerians lost their lives.

He has also requested the Saudi authorities to look into the case of compensation for six Nigerians killed in the crane incident in the precincts of the Kaaba and 35 others from the stampede whose DNA profile is feared to be missing.

In a statement issued yesterday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari equally charged the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) to seek a reduction of fees associated with the Umrah Visa.

There were among the 17 issues tendered at a meeting between officials of Nigeria and the Saudi governments. Nigeria appreciated the increase offered for Umrah pilgrimage but asked that the 76,000 seats maintained for the Hajj be similarly increased.

The request presented by Buhari followed the completion of talks with rulers of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom, Buhari has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON to sit down with the Saudis to negotiate improved terms and conditions for our pilgrims performing the Umrah and the annual Hajj.

The meeting between officials of both countries was led by Nigeria's Minister of State, Mrs Fatima Abba Ibrahim and the the Chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Muhammed on the Nigerian side while the Saudi side was led by their minister of Hajj Affairs, Dr Bandar bin Muhammad al-Hajjar.