The Nigerian government has admitted that 18 out of the 177 passengers, who were denied entry into Saudi Arabia upon their arrival in Jeddah, had been previously prohibited from entering the country due to their past offenses. This revelation was made during an investigation conducted by the House of Representatives into the cancellation of visas for 264 Nigerian travelers who arrived in Jeddah on an Air Peace flight. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Mrs. Francisca Omayuli, released a statement explaining the situation....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
The statement reads in part: “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. It landed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport – Hajj Terminal Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Monday, 13th November 2023.
“It was on arrival at the Hajj Terminal that the Saudi Immigration authorities informed the passengers that their visas had been canceled. 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.
“The Saudi authorities are yet to give reasons for the cancellation of the visas, except for 18 of the passengers who were outrightly banned from Saudi Arabia for various offenses 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, the investigation is ongoing in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The affected passengers are, therefore, implored to keep calm, while the matter is being resolved.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has launched an investigation into the incident.
Hon. Kama Nkemkanma and four other lawmakers passed the resolution following a motion. Nkemkanma said that all 264 passengers had undergone the Advanced Passengers Pre-screening System (APPS), which was monitored live by Saudi authorities before the flight departed from Nigeria. He expressed concern that even the Nigerian Embassy in Jeddah and Saudi immigration personnel were unable to identify who authorized the visa cancellation.
Nkemkanma noted that the intervention of the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia had reduced the number of passengers to be deported from 264 to 177. He also observed that Air Peace, a Nigerian carrier, had been receiving high patronage due to its relatively lower fares compared to Saudi Air, which had previously operated direct flights between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.