Updated: Saudi Arabia: FG to investigate visa cancellation, return of 264 passangers

Updated: Saudi Arabia: FG to investigate visa cancellation, return of 264 passangers

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The Government of Nigeria on Monday said it would investigate the reported cancellation of visas of 264 of its citizen by the Saudi Authorities.
The Saudi Arabian Authorities was reported to have cancelled the visa of all the 264 passengers airlifted to the Jeddah from Lagos and Kano on Sunday by Air Peace airline.
 Besides, the authorities also  insisted that the airline returned the passangers back to Nigeria.
This was despite the fact that the passengers went through the Advanced Passengers Information System (APIS) during the check-in formalities in Nigeria which was also monitored by the Saudi authorities.

The flight took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano on Sunday night and landed at King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

It however took the intervention of the Nigerian embassy for the Saudi authorities to allow 87 of the passangers into their country, while it insisted that the remaining 177 passengers be returned back to Nigeria

No reason has been given for the action of the Saudi authorities.

The passengers were said to have been duly issued the visa and went through  the advanced passenger information system which is accessible to both authorities in Lagos and Jeddah.

This is coming barely two weeks that Air Peace launched a direct flight to Jeddah.

Prior to the commencement of direct flight, Saudia, a Saudi Arabian flag carrier, has been operating directly from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia.

Reacting to the report, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar said the matter would be thoroughly investigated.

Tuggar in  a statement by his media aide, Alkasim Abdulkadir, said the government will ensure that no Nigerian passanger is allowed to face such a treatment  again.

He said, ” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is investigating the matter to see if any consular or aviation rules have been flouted.

“The Ministry will ensure such actions that impact the welfare of Nigerian citizens are mitigated in the future in line with the 4 Ds strategy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
The Minister who sounded surprised by the report stressed, “Nigeria has just participated in the Saudi-Africa Summit were bilateral discussions covering several sectors of the economy and mutually beneficial commitments were made.”


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