Hajj 2012: Saudi Arabia repatriates another 50 Nigerian women

FILE PHOTO: Many deportees went to Saudi Arabia as pilgrims

Efforts by the Federal Government to intervene in the crisis rocking Nigerian Hajj pilgrims seem to be failing as Saudi Authorities have deported at least 50 Nigerian women in the last three days.

A statement issued in Abuja on Monday, and signed by Uba Mana, the commission’s Head of media, said the development came after the resumption, Sunday, of the transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

According to Mr. Mana, affected pilgrims are from Kebbi, Kaduna and Niger States. He said that the air carriers had been directed to return pilgrims without proper documentation.

The Saudi authorities had earlier deported over one thousand Nigerian female pilgrims accused of not being accompanied by their male guardians.

Mr. Mana added that NAHCON had successfully transported 3,786 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia since the resumption of the Hajj flight on Sunday.

The carriers had operated eight flights into Saudi Arabia since Sunday, Mr. Mana said. He also said that the success recorded was largely due to the directive, to state pilgrims’ welfare boards and agencies, to ensure that only female pilgrims who had the appropriate Mahram (male guardian) were boarded.

The commission, however, appealed to all State Pilgrims Welfare Boards and agencies to comply with the circulars earlier sent to them regarding the matching of female pilgrims with their appropriate Mahram; and to ensure that they travelled on the same flight.

Mr. Mana also said that the commission would deploy its staff at all hajj reception centres, in addition to the support of members of the immigration service and air carriers, to ensure full compliance with all necessary travel requirements.

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