Home » Saudi Arabia Deports Nigerians for Visa Fraud, Embassy Says 

Saudi Arabia Deports Nigerians for Visa Fraud, Embassy Says 

The passengers submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that does not apply to them, the embassy says.

by Motoni Olodun

Saudi Arabia has defended its decision to deport 177 Nigerian passengers who arrived in Jeddah on Monday, saying they violated the country’s entry rules by submitting incorrect information to obtain visas.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying the media reports and social media releases concerning the deportation of Nigerian citizens at the point of entry into the Kingdom.

The statement said that the passengers, who were denied entry and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, did not 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 does not apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival.

The statement added that the procedure was not limited to Nigerian citizens only, but rather to citizens of other countries. It also stressed the importance of following the procedures and laws enacted by the Kingdom for all visitors and reviewing all the documents to determine their conformity with the conditions before departing from their countries to the Kingdom.

The Nigerian passengers were airlifted by Air Peace, a major Nigerian carrier, from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano. They landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport – Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, where they were informed by the Saudi immigration authorities that their visas had been cancelled.

According to reports from the Nigerian Consulate in Jeddah, 177 passengers were made to return on the same flight back to Nigeria while 87 passengers were cleared by Saudi immigration and allowed entry into Jeddah.

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has urged all affected passengers of Air Peace to remain calm as it has launched an investigation into the matter. The government said that although the Saudi authorities were yet to provide reasons for the cancellation of the visas, it noted that both Nigeria and Saudi Arabia had begun a probe aimed at resolving the issue.

The incident has sparked outrage and criticism among Nigerians, who accused the Saudi government of discrimination and mistreatment of their fellow citizens. Some also questioned the role of the Nigerian embassy in facilitating the travel arrangements and ensuring the validity of the visas.

Saudi Arabia is a popular destination for Nigerian pilgrims, who visit the holy sites of Mecca and Medina for the annual Hajj or the lesser Umrah. According to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, over 65,000 Nigerians performed the Hajj in 2022, making Nigeria the fifth largest contingent in the world.

The two countries have also maintained cordial diplomatic and economic relations, with Saudi Arabia being one of Nigeria’s major trading partners and investors in the oil and gas sector.

The Nigerian government has expressed its commitment to strengthening the bilateral ties and cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and to ensuring the welfare and protection of its citizens in the Kingdom.

Source: Nairametrics


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