By Bukar Bolori
The federal government has said it is investigating the cancellation by the Saudi Arabian Authorities of visas of all the 264 passengers, who were airlifted to Jeddah from Lagos and Kano on Sunday.
All Nigerian citizens aboard Air Peace were denied entrance into Saudi Arabia.
A statement on Monday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is now investigating the matter to see if any consular or aviation rules have been flouted.
The statement signed by the media aide to Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir read: “Nigeria has just participated in the Saudi-Africa Summit where bilateral discussions covering several sectors of the economy and mutually beneficial commitments were made.
“The Ministry will ensure such actions that impact the welfare of Nigerian citizens are mitigated in the future in line with the 4 Ds strategy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
”The flight took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano on Sunday night and landed at King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.But to the utmost surprise of the airline staff, the Saudi Arabian authorities announced that all the passengers’ visas had been cancelled.
This was despite the fact that the passengers went through the Advanced Passengers Information System (APIS) during the check-in formalities in Nigeria which was also monitored by the Saudi authorities.
It was learnt that it was when the Nigerian embassy waded in that Saudi authorities reduced the number of passengers that would be returned to 177 from 264.