The Federal Government has said Saudi Arabia is yet to give reasons for the cancellation of the visas and subsequent deportation of passengers airlifted from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia on Monday.
According to reports received from the Nigerian Consulate in Jeddah, Air Peace Flight No. P4-752 airlifted 264 passengers from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and the Aminu Kano International Airport and landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport – Hajj Terminal Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Monday.
It was on arrival at the Hajj Terminal that the Saudi Immigration authorities informed the passengers that their visas had been cancelled. Consequently, 177 passengers were made to return on the same flight back to Nigeria. While 87 passengers were cleared by immigration and allowed entry into Jeddah.
In a statement signed by Francisca Omayuli, Spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Government said, “The Saudi authorities are yet to give reasons for the cancellation of the visas, except for eighteen (18) of the passengers who were outrightly banned from Saudi Arabia for various offences committed in the past.
“Notwithstanding the fact that it is the prerogative of a sovereign nation to determine who is permitted entry into its territory, Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are traditional and strategic partners, who are willing to guard against a reoccurrence of this unfortunate incident. In this regard, investigation is ongoing in both Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The affected passengers are therefore, implored to keep calm, while the matter is being resolved.”