Why we sent back 177 Nigerians – Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has released a statement explaining the deportation of Nigerians to the Saudi Kingdom.
Reports indicate that many of the passengers were on a journey to perform the lesser Hajj (Umrah), a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca.
264 passengers were notified that their visa had been cancelled when they landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Hajj Terminal Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, 13th November, 2023.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had since called for calm over the deportation.
On Wednesday, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja made a clarification about the situation.
“The passengers whom were denied entry, and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, didn’t fulfill the entry conditions and requirements in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Kingdom,” a statement from the embassy said.
It added: “The deportees submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that doesn’t apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival.
“The Royal Embassy would like to stress the importance of following the procedures and laws enacted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for all visitors.
“Furthermore, all passengers should review all the documents to determine their conformity with the conditions prior departing from their countries to the Kingdom.
“This procedure was not limited to Nigerian citizens only, but rather to citizens of other countries.”
Recall that the Saudi government had on November 13, cancelled the visa of 264 Nigerians at Jeddah International airport but after intervention by the Nigerian embassy, Saudi Arabia allowed entry to 87 passengers, while the remaining 177 were repatriated to Nigeria on Monday night by Air Peace.