Monday, October 19, 2015


But Adamu Adamu wrote, ‘Many eye-witnesses blame the stampede on the Deputy Crown Prince who arrived with a 350-man strong escort; and, to enable him cast his stones at the Jamarat, the flow of pilgrims was barricaded. This forced a backward flow of pilgrims and unleashed a stampede unparalleled in scope and in casualties. Eyewitnesses now speak of more than 2000 people dead. Luckily, every step of the tragedy had been caught on tape by social media buffs;…’  

Firstly, these so-called eyewitnesses must be demons who could behold what humans cannot see. What is more painful is the fact that this fairytale is disseminated by a veteran journalist who knows more than ordinary people the etiquette and ethics of his calling. Real eyewitnesses were saying there were not enough security personnel at the time, making it possible for some pilgrims to return from a wrong direction; how could there be ‘a 350-man strong escort’ on the scene. If ‘every step of the tragedy had been caught on tape..’, as falsely claimed by the writer, where is the footage of these 350 strong escort? 

Secondly, it was the Lebanese newspaper, Ad-Diyaar and the Iranian Press TV that started spreading this obvious falsehood. The Press TV is notorious for spreading fake information as a form of propaganda. An easy one that comes to mind is the recent Syrian refugee situation, which saw a large number of Syrians fleeing into European countries. Press TV reported that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States have not helped the refugees at a time Saudi Arabia alone was hosting over half a million of the refugees. This is apart from millions of dollars in aid over a four-year period. It is therefore not new to read thrash from the duo.

The tapes making the round on social media are the ones on the scene of the crush, some of them too distressing to watch. They did not depict anything on the cause of what happened. There was one tape that went viral on the social media, in line with Adamu Adamu’s ‘flow-of-pilgrims-was-barricaded’ position, but which, for those with knowledge of video editing, was clearly tampered with, and ended up showing nothing other than a gate was forced opened, and the pilgrims dispersing. 

Another footage showed two people in a car throwing stones at the Jamaraat; they were not in Ihraam. A note and an image were attached to the tape stating that the stone thrower was ‘the Deputy Crown Prince’. But the footage failed to show any other person aside the two occupants of the car; no crowd of pilgrims in the entire Jamaraat area at the peak of the first day of the stoning ritual; no traces whatsoever of Adamu Adamu’s ‘350-man strong escort’. The whole episode of this clip has betrayed the ignorance of its proponents on the rites of Hajj, and Royal Movements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The man throwing stones at the Jamaraat was neither ‘the Deputy Crown Prince’, nor was he even a pilgrim. On the day of the crush, all pilgrims were in their ihraam. The propagators of that malicious campaign were ignorant of the fact that a member of the Royal Family is bound by certain traditions vis-a-vis his tunic when he appears in public – the thobe, ghutra, and bisht…all have to conform to set standards. For those who know, even a fleeting glance at the image of the man in the car is enough for one to vouch that he cannot be from the Royal Family; his thobe was not elegant; he had neither ghutra nor bisht- that is when you forget the fact that he ought to be in ihraam cloths.

The concocters of the tale of Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud blocking Street 206 are ignorant of the way the royals go to the Jamaraat Bridges and they seek to mislead the unwary. There are VIP tunnels from the Palace close to Minaa through which the royals and their guests reach the stoning area. It would be entirely purposeless to block a street they would not use. In more than 15 years of my annual Hajj experience, the Royal family has never stopped the movement of people to the stoning site because of a VIP.

Atassi Basman of Al Jazeera wrote, "For those who know the area where the stampede occurred, this report seems far from reality. The relatively humble area is far from the entrance to Mina and houses ordinary pilgrims arriving from outside of Saudi Arabia. Important personalities stay in areas close to the entrance and their convoys are assigned separate tunnels and roads to facilitate their movement."

On the crane accident preceding the Minaa disaster, Adamu wrote, “The government of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is fully responsible for this tragedy. In the case of the crane collapse, it can no longer escape blame by blaming God, as if He acts without a cause; or try to pass the blame by holding the Bin Ladin family scapegoat, as if a contractor in the kingdom is supposed to supervise himself”.
It is very unfortunate that he has either decided that the preliminary report of the Saudi government based on investigations is false or that it does not fit into his plans and prejudice. He also made the Saudi government fit the crime he had in mind for it. He made it look as though they were a bunch of thirsty vampires who needed accidents to happen and blood to flow to sate their thirst.

He conveniently forgot to mention that the German-made Liebherr Group crawler crane LR 11350 involved in the incident is operated by the Saudi Binladin Group, who are heading the expansion of the Grand Mosque and also responsible for a large amount of major building contracts in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Binladin Group is the second largest construction company in the world. An engineer for the group said that the crane was erected in "an extremely professional way", and the accident was an "act of God". 

The German manufacturers sent their engineers to help in the investigation of the accident and to assist on site. They found no structural flaws in the crane but stated that the crane's 190-meter long boom was not sufficiently secured by its operators so as to withstand the high winds present on the day of the collapse, and that use of that crane in those 80–105 kph winds was well outside the manufacturer's recommended operating parameters. Eleven days before the accident, the Emir (Governor) of Mecca, had ordered the Binladin Group to relocate the crane from pedestrian areas and to deploy safeguards to prevent pilgrims entering the construction zone.

After the accident, all of the 100 cranes still present near the Haram were inspected and found to be safe. As compensation, King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered that one million Saudi riyal (US$266,000) be paid as compensation to the families of those who died in the crane collapse, and that two relatives of each of the deceased are to be the King's guests for Hajj in 2016. Adamu’s fiction said, “they have thrown a cheque of $174,000 at the estate of each of the crane victims as diyyah”.

It is nothing short of amazing that in this age of near ubiquity of information, people still try to hoodwink the public with distorted facts. Nigerians are not fools. Just type ‘1 million riyals in USD’ into your Google search engine and you will see how false his figures are.

The Saudi King gave a million Riyals to each victim of the collapse with a permanent disability, and half a million riyal (US$133,000 as compensation to those victims without lasting injuries. King Salman also decreed that these compensation payments would not prevent private legal claims by the injured and families of the deceased.

All I have mentioned so far is available online and is verifiable. The one you will be hard-pressed to find except in Shi’ite media outlets or those of their supporters. 

Insha Allah, I shall continue next week.


  1. Jazaakallaahu khayr for this detailed and educating writeup.

  2. Jazaakallaahu khairan for this response.