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, November 13.
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.
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.
When it landed, Saudi Arabia authorities announced that it had cancelled the visas of all 264 passengers airlifted by Air Peace on arrival in Jeddah from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Kano, insisting that the airline returns them to Nigeria.
The Federal government then released a statement asking the affected Nigerians to remain calm as it was investigating the incident. Thereafter, 87 passengers were later allowed entry into the country while the remaining 177 passengers were asked to follow the Air Peace flight back to Nigeria.
In a statement released, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja 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.