News24

Saudi: 1 000 Nigerian women still stranded

2012-09-27 16:43

Jeddah - More than 1 000 Nigerian women pilgrims remained stranded at a Saudi airport for a fifth straight day on Thursday after being denied entry into the kingdom because they were not accompanied by men, an airport official confirmed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the women have been denied entry because "they are not accompanied by a mahram [the statutory male companion]," adding that talks were continuing between Saudi and Nigerian officials.

The official said that the Nigerian consulate in Jeddah had offered to ensure the women's return after the annual hajj pilgrimage, but Saudi immigration officials were "sticking to their position".

The kingdom has yet to release a formal statement regarding the case.

The women had begun arriving at Jeddah airport on Sunday, a report by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, which oversees Nigerian participation in the pilgrimage, said.

"Upon enquiries by the reception team officials of the National Hajj Commission in the airport, they were told that the pilgrims were held back because of lack of mahram," said the report, which was submitted to the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Only Nigerians affected

About 171 of the women flew home to Nigeria on Wednesday, an official said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan set up a five-member team on Wednesday to negotiate with the Saudi authorities, an official statement said.

According to the report presented to the committee, Nigerian pilgrims' welfare boards have in the past acted as "mahrams" and visas had been granted on that basis.

The report said that officials observed that flights which arrived at Medina airport were not subjected to such treatment. The report also claimed that "only Nigerian pilgrims" were affected by the policy.

Last year, nearly three million Muslim pilgrims performed the hajj, which represents one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who are able to do so.

Roughly half of Nigeria's 160 million people are Muslim.

Comments
  • thomas.paine.946517 - 2012-09-27 16:54

    Could it be racial bigotry disguised as religious bigotry? What an enlightened society Suadi is!

      thomas.paine.946517 - 2012-09-27 17:06

      *Saudi - and what a bad speller I am.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-09-27 17:41

    Bunch've 'tards, this isn't the dark ages you know.

  • larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-27 18:32

    Well, Islamic women are not afforded adult status, so would you let your ten year old child travel unaccompanied to a foreign land?

  • omon.arewe - 2012-09-27 19:23

    who told you that half of Nigerians are Muslims?We have Muslim,Christians and traditional worshipers in Nigeria and we don't even know their numbers and so don,t merge them and tell us half of the population is Muslims.We do't have true statistics in the country.

      thomas.paine.946517 - 2012-09-27 19:30

      Per Wikipedia (so it must be right!): "According to a 2003 report, 50.4% of Nigeria's population are Muslims, 48.2% are Christians and 1.4% adhere to other religions." I suspect that this is where they get it from.

  • teddy.beer.319 - 2012-09-27 20:35

    Ouga. Why only our aunties? Racist?

      kumba.bamenda - 2012-09-28 10:05

      Teddy go to other countries and see what Nigerians are doing there, then you will understand

  • kumba.bamenda - 2012-09-28 10:01

    I am not surprise, Nigeria got a bad Image all other the world, drug dealing, prostitution, Credit Card theft, Fake Dollars, Kidnapping and Hijacking, When ever an African travel abroad, he or she is subject to ill-treatment just because of stupid Nigerians, I cant understand how one nation can be so criminal in nature, They are thousand of people that go to haj from every country in Africa, they got a valid reason to stop the Nigerians, most of thus women are not going to haj, some are going to prostitute and others are going to cook food and sell, Every Stupid Nigerian best sentence is "I WANNA MAKE MONEY" They most must deport them and band them from haj, they are spoiling it for everyone

  • Increasingly Annoyed - 2012-09-28 14:15

    Yay, more religious bigotry! Awesome!

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