Nigeria Airline, Saudi Arabia at Odds Over Pilgrim Visas
Saudi Arabian authorities cancelled the visas of all 264 passengers on an Air Peace flight from Nigeria to Jeddah, just days after the airline launched a direct service to the kingdom.
The Saudi embassy said that the repatriated passengers did not "fulfil the entry conditions" and "submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that doesn't apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival".
However, Air Peace Airlines has disagreed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, saying the travel details of the passengers were shared with the Kingdom's authorities before they were airlifted out of Nigeria.
The Nigerian embassy intervened and convinced Saudi authorities to reduce the number of passengers being returned to Nigeria from 264 to 177. Most of the passengers had travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser Hajj (Umrah), pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca.
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Every year, Muslims from around the world go on Hajj and the lesser Hajj (Umrah) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia (file photo).