The Embassy of Saudi Arabia Kingdom has justified the deportation of 264 Nigerians who landed in the country but were disallowed from disembarking from an Air Peace flight from Lagos en route Kano after the cancellation of their visas.
The kingdom said the measure did not target only Nigerians.
Following a Motion of urgent public importance moved by Honourables Kama Nkemkanma, Olumide Osoba, Makki Yalleman and Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, Nigeria’s House of Representatives had mandated its Committees on Foreign Affairs, Interior and Pilgrims Affairs to probe the incident.
Reacting to the backlash of the deportations in a statement on Wednesday, the Saudi Embassy said: “The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja would like to make a clarification about the media reports and social media releases concerning the deportation of Nigerian citizens at the point of entry into the Kingdom.
“The passengers who were denied entry, and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, didn’t fulfil the entry conditions and requirements in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Kingdom, as they submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that doesn’t apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival.
“This procedure was not limited to Nigerian citizens only, but rather to citizens of other countries.”
“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 before departing from their countries to the Kingdom.”
The Federal Government had on Tuesday noted that according to reports it 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, November 23, 2023.
On arrival at the Hajj Terminal, the passengers were told by Saudi Immigration authorities that their visas had been cancelled.
Of the lot, 177 passengers were forced back to Nigeria on the same flight.
The remaining 87 passengers were cleared by Saudi immigration and allowed entry into Jeddah.