Buhari makes case for Nigerians killed in Saudi stampede

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President Muhammadu Buhari has requested
the authorities of Saudi Arabia to come out
with the outcome of their investigation into the
stampede at Muna in 2015 during which 274
Nigerians were believed to have died.
Buhari has also made a case for compensation
for six Nigerians killed in the crane incident in
the precincts of the Kaaba.
According to a statement on Saturday by his
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity,
Garba Shehu, the President raised the issues
during the talks he had with Saudi rulers during
his one-week official visit to the country.
Shehu said following the completion of talks
with rulers of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom,
Buhari directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the National Hajj Commission to sit down
with the Saudis to negotiate improved terms
and conditions for Nigerian pilgrims performing
the Umrah and the annual Hajj.
This, he said, followed the acceptance by the
Saudi government to freely and openly discuss
outstanding issues with Nigeria.
“President Buhari, among other things,
requested the Saudis to conclude all issues with
the Nigerian Hajj Commission, such as the
undetermined outcome of their investigation
into the stampede at Muna last year, where our
officials believe that 274 Nigerian lives were
lost.
“There is also 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.
“President Buhari equally charged the Ministry
and the NAHCON to seek a reduction of fees
associated with the Umrah Visa,” he said.
Among the 17 issues tendered at the initial
meeting between the officials of both countries,
Shehu said Nigeria appreciated the increase
offered for Umrah pilgrimage but asked that
the 76,000 seats maintained for the Hajj be
also increased.
The meeting was said to have been led by
Nigeria’s Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Mrs.
Fatima Abba Ibrahim and 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.
The two countries are expected to follow up on
all the issues in the coming weeks.

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