The Saudi authorities have compensated victims of the fallen crane in Mekkah during the 2015 hajj season.Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Justice Muhammad Isa Dodo (rtd), disclosed this during a meeting with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in Jeddah.
A statement by NAHCON’s spokesperson, Fatima Usara yesterday in Abuja, said the compensations for five of the deceased and two seriously injured pilgrims were released to the embassy in Riyadh and had also forwarded them to the affected families.On September 11, 2015, a crawler crane had collapsed during a thunderstorm at the Kaaba Grand Mosque in Makkah, claiming many lives and injuring a good number of others.
Nigeria lost six pilgrims from Gombe, Kaduna and Katsina states to the crash with three others sustaining varying degrees of injuries.
The final verdict of a court hearing in October 2017 found no criminal elements in the case and freed 13 suspects of all charges.The Saudi government deemed that the deadly incident was purely caused by strong gusts of wind and offered to compensate families of victims.
“The commission and Nigerian Missions in Saudi Arabia, in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, had regularly followed up on the pledge of the Saudi king, which was eventually redeemed. “The commission will coordinate payment of the compensation in accordance with provisions of the law,” Usara stated.
The organisation was however silent on the amount paid to the victims.When contacted, Usara told The Guardian that the sums would “be made known at the appropriate time.”Checks by The Guardian revealed that Indonesia was the first nation to be compensated $6.133 million early September by the Saudi authorities having lost 12 of its citizens to the incident.