The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has explained why the visas of 177 Nigerians were revoked and denied entry into the country on their arrival in Jeddah aboard an Air Peace plane on Monday.
The Saudi government said the affected passengers out of a total 264 aboard the plane didn’t fulfill 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 in Jeddah.
LEADERSHIP reports that the federal government of Nigeria had on Monday said it was investigating the cancellation by the Saudi Arabian authorities of visas of the 177 Air Peace passengers, who were airlifted to Jeddah from Lagos and Kano on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia had initially cancelled visas of all the 264 passengers airlifted
by Air Peace on arrival in Jeddah
from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Kano, insisting that the airline should return them back to Nigeria. However, 87 passengers were later allowed entry into the country
and the country’s airport officials
insisted 177 should follow the Air
Peace flight back to Nigeria.
The flight took off from the Murtala Muhammed International
Airport (MMIA) Lagos via MAKIA on
Sunday night and arrived Saudi
Arabia’s major city, Jeddah, on Monday
morning without issues. But on
landing, the Saudi Arabia authorities
announced that all the passengers’
visas were cancelled.
However, reacting to the development on Wednesday, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja via a statement posted on its verifed X handle (formerly Twitter), said the action was not targeted against Nigerians as the rules apply to citizens of other countries, emphasising the need to always abide by established rules and regulations by all visitors to the Kingdom.
“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 whom were denied entry, and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, didn’t fulfill 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.
“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 prior departing from their countries to the Kingdom.
“This procedure was not limited to Nigerian citizens only, but rather to citizens of other countries,” the Embassy stated.