A Federal Government delegation, headed by Rep. Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker, House of Representatives, will leave for Saudi Arabia on Sunday (today) in connection with the deportation of Nigerian female intending pilgrims.
Sources at the office of the speaker told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that the five-man delegation is expected to discuss the controversial issue of Mahram (male guardian) with Saudi authorities.
NAN learnt that the speaker, who was outside the country on another official assignment, returned to Abuja on Saturday evening in readiness for the trip.
President Goodluck Jonathan, through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, raised the five-member delegation on Sept. 26.
Other members of the delegation are Nuruddeen Mohammed, the Minister of State (II) for Foreign Affairs; the NAHCON chairman, Muhammad Bello; Amb. Shehu Galadanchi, former Ambassador of Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, and Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, a member of National Council of Ulamas in Nigeria.
As part of the efforts to resolve the crisis, Tambuwal met with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Khalid Abdrabuh, on Sept. 27 and he gave the assurance that the issue would be resolved.
Mr. Abdrabuh told the speaker that the detention of female pilgrims who failed to meet the country’s entry requirements was not restricted to Nigeria as some from other countries had been deported as well.
More than 95,000 Nigerians were expected to perform the 2012 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, including 10,000 pilgrims from the private operators before the deportation of the 1,000 intending female pilgrims.