Some of the pilgrims who were deported from Saudi Arabia have arrived the country. The deportees, who arrived aboard a Max Air plane, which touched down at Aminu Kano International Airport at about 4:55pm, said they were turned back for not being accompanied by approved male relatives.
The female pilgrims, most of whom were in tears, numbered about 170. Of this, 111 were from Katsina State while 60 were from Taraba State. Most of them were seen in tears, looking weary and upset.
Some of them narrated their ordeals to reporters, saying that they were returned despite their wailings, screaming and pleas to the Saudi officials to allow them to carry out the annual religious ritual. According to one of them, Amina Jalingo, “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,” she recalled.
Meanwhile, the federal government of Nigeria had given the Saudi authorities a 24-hour ultimatum to resolve the issue of the detained female pilgrims. Perhaps the deportation of these pilgrims is the Saudis’ way of “resolving” the issue.