Nigeria protests denial of consular access to detained female pilgrims by Saudi Arabia

Many deportees went to Saudi Arabia as pilgrims
Many deportees went to Saudi Arabia as pilgrims

Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, on Friday in New York, protested against the denial of consular access to detained Nigerian female pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Saudi authorities had detained about 1000 female pilgrims from Nigeria since Tuesday on the pretext that they were not accompanied by escorts.

Mr. Ashiru, who met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Prince Abdullah Aziz, said the refusal of consular access to the pilgrims contravened the Vienna Convention.

The convention provides for such access by an Ambassador, Consul-General or representatives from the embassy to their nationals in distress.

The minister, who described the actions of the Saudi authorities as unfortunate, said it was not a true reflection of the historic ties between both nations.

He called for an urgent solution to the problem and stressed the need for the intending pilgrims to be treated with respect and dignity.

On his part, Mr. Aziz expressed regret over the development, adding that the denial of entry to unaccompanied female pilgrims was not a Saudi Arabian regulation, but an Islamic requirement that “women must be accompanied by Mehrams.”

While noting that efforts were being made to resolve the matter, he urged intending female pilgrims to comply with the Islamic injunction to avoid similar circumstances in future.

  • Adili Kolado

    This is an unfortunate development. Both Saudi Arabia and the Nigerian authorities must re-valuate its system. Corruption is certainly delivering its off-springs. May God help Nigeria.

  • NAGODI

    INDEED CORRUPTION IS DELIVERING ITS DIVIDENTS. GHANA IS ALREADY DEPORTING NIGERIANS LIKE WE DID TO THEM IN THE 80’S. THE SAUDI ACTION HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH MALE COMPANIONS FOR FEMALE PILGRIMS. IT IS ABOUT THE GENERAL INDISCIPLINE OF NIGERIANS IN THE HOLY LAND THAT PROMPTS THIS ACTION. WE HAVE BEEN GOING ON A MODERN AIRCRAFT BASED PILGRIMAGE SINCE 1953 YET TO THIS DAY WE CANT ORGANIZE THAT TRIP ORDERLY. WE ARE ALWAYS THE LAST TO FINISH AIRLIFTING OUR PILGRIMS TO AND FROM SAUDI ARABIA. THIS HAS BECOME SO EMBARRASSING THAT THE SAUDI’S DECIDED TO SET ASIDE THE WORST PART OF THE KING ABDULAZIZ AIRPORT SPECIFICALLY FOR NIGERIAN PILGRIMS. WE DID NOT GET THE SIGN AND FOR 20 YEARS WE STAYED THERE. WE DISREGARD BOTH ISLAMIC AND SAUDI LAWS BY ENGAGING IN PROSTITUTION, 419, PICKPOCKETING AND EVEN ROBBERY DURING THE HAJJ.EACH TIME WE BREAK SAUDI LAW OUR GOVT WILL PLEAD ON OUR BEHALF AND THE SAUDIS WILL OBLIGE. OUR PILGRIMS DO NOT KNOW NEITHER WERE THEY SHOWN SOMETHING AS LITTLE AS THE USE OF A MODERN TOILET! WE ARE THE DIRTIEST IN THE HOLY LAND. THOSE WHO HAVE THE MISFORTUNE TO RENT PROPERTY TO NIGERIAN PILGRIMS PAY DEARLY IN CLEANUP COST WHEN WE LEAVE. WE ABUSE MUSLIM GENEROUSITY BY ENGAGING IS FIST-FIGHTS WHEN FREE FOOD IS DISTRIBUTED. SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GIVE.