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Hajj Stampede: Family cries out over non refund

Two years after the stampede in Munna, Saudi Arabia that claimed the life of a pilgrim, Salaudeen Nurudeen Olatunji, his  family has cried out over non refund of his hajj fare as promised by the Kwara State Pilgrims Welfare Board.

Olatunji was the former Public Relations Officer of National Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state.

It would be recalled that the board had confirmed death of seven pilgrims from the state in and declared seven missing in the incidence.

The Board had also paid condolence visits to families of the bereaved families and refunded money to them.

Speaking to National Pilot in a telephone chat, wife of the deceased, Mrs Hasfat Nurudeen Olatunji said the family was yet to receive refund from the board.

She said, “I’m not aware of any compensation and nobody has come to us. But I’ll talk with my late husband’s twin brother, Mr. Kehinde and get back to you.

Her daughter, Opeyemi Temitope Nurudeen Olatunji also stated that there has been no refund or compensation from either the state or Federal Government to the family over the incident.

Speaking on the development, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Tunde Jimoh stressed that when he was briefed on records of victims of the stampede, it was discovered that one family is yet to come and claim their refund.

He said, “When I resumed work here based on the normal process, my predecessor handled over files to me and one of which was the issue of stampede incident. The records available showed that one family has not appeared to collect entitlement of a victim of the stampede.

“I don’t think it is compensation per se but the money the stampede victims paid, which has not been utilised because of the sudden death.  Our accountant even briefed me on this few days ago but we are yet to conclude because I want to know why that person has not appeared. Another aspect could be a mix-up in records of the person maybe the next of kin might be different from what the pilgrim must have filled in the information available to us.

The Executive Secretary who is not aware of the family demands stated that they should visit the office with evidence regarding their claim.

He said, “I advice that the bereaved family should appear with evidence to indicate that they have right to collect such refund from the board.

He said, “When they come we’ll check their records to know whether it is in line with those we have here.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary who stated that payment of balance of the 2017 intending pilgrims has commenced, however, advised those affected to pay their money on time.

He also urged them to listen to radio and read newspapers for first hand information on the procedures of this year’s exercise.

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