2015 Hajj stampede: Reps summon 36 states Muslim Pilgrims’ Boards

• As Commission blames security, communication lapses for incident

The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on 2015 Hajj stampede at Mina in Saudi Arabia, on Monday, gave the Secretaries of 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, 72 hours within which to appear before it with their official reports on the incident

The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Ibrahim Dutse, handed down the order on Monday at the  public hearing on an investigative hearing on the  role of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON ) in the Operation of Hajj and Umrah especially 2015 operation vis-à-vis the stampede at Mina, Saudi Arabia.

During the stampede, 274 Nigerians lost their lives while several others sustained injuries and others, declared missing.

This came just as the Commission blamed communication gaps and security lapses as the major cause of the stampede and demanded for more measures from the Saudi Arabia Kingdom, to prevent future occurrence of what he said was avoidable.

The Haji Commission boss, Mallam Abdullahi disclosed that main problem was there were security lapses and communication gaps, saying that, “the officials handling the security should be trained because they only speak various Arabic languages, they don’t speak or understand English language.”

While summoning the State Secretaries of the Board, the Chairman of the Committee lamented their absence at the public hearing. This is despite the fact that they were duly invited through the Haji Commission. According to him, “we are talking about an incident where 274 people lost their lives and here we are, and those that are important to this public hearing are not here. I am not pleased but we will continue with our hearing. Just one or two representatives of the secretaries would have been here with their reports, it will only take two hours and then they go back.”

Mallam Abdullahi also cleared the air on the compensation of One million riyal and 500,000 riyal promised by the Saudi King to the families of the deaths and those injured and promised that the compensation would be paid to the families of the victims the promised was redeemed

He however demanded for the review of security arrangement in the Holy land and the need for the Kingdom to engage the services of multilingual personnel to handle the pilgrims in the future.