Saudi Begins Deportation of 1,000 Nigerian Female Pilgrims, 177 Already Deported
The Kano State Pilgrim Welfare Board says it has suspended further airlifting of intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia following the deportation of 171 female pilgrims to the country for failing to travel with approved male guardians for the ongoing hajj exercise.
The deportees arrived Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, yesterday [Sept. 26], onboard a Max Air plane which touched down at about 4:55pm. About 111 of the intending pilgrims were from Katsina while the 60 others were from Taraba state.
About 111 of them were from Katsina State while 60 were from Taraba State. Most of them were seen in tears, looking weary and upset.
Some of those who narrated their ordeals to reporters said that they were returned despite their wailings, screaming and pleas to the Saudi officials to allow them to carry out the annual religious ritual.
“We were held in Madina for two days without food. None of us could sleep because the environment was so cold. Most of us collapsed on the floor, sobbing and pleading after we were told that we would be deported. All our pleas fell on the officials’ deaf ears”.
Another deportee, Aishatu Muhammad, claimed that she was turned back even though she travelled with one of her relatives. “When we reached Medina, my male relative was allowed to pass freely, but my own passport was handed back to me by the Saudi officials. We don’t know what sort of male guardians the Saudis want us to present,” she narrated.
According to Daily Trust, the returnees were brought back because the detention facilities where the initial 1,000 female pilgrims were detained was so congested that they could not accommodate more pilgrims.
According to unconfirmed reports, about 200 pilgrims among the 1,000 in detention shared a single toilet.
The Executive Secretary of Kano State Pilgrim Welfare Board, Alhaji Laminu Rabiu, who revealed to reporters at the airport, said the decision to suspend airlifting of pilgrims was taken as part of efforts to address the current impasse between Nigeria and Saudi governments.
Laminu said he was at the airport to receive 60 Taraba pilgrims who apparently appeared to be stranded as none of their state officials could be seen at the airport.
The Katsina intending pilgrims requested to be immediately flown to their state. The pilgrims arrived at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, Katsina yesterday night and proceeded to their respective homes.
Posted on September 28, 2012, in News and tagged deportation, hajj, kano pilgrim, Katsina, Katsina State, Medina, nigeira women pilgrim, Nigeria, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, saudi officials, Taraba State, welfare board. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.