Saudi Authorities Detain 400 Nigerian Female Pilgrims

This incident was said to have started with the Saudis demanding to see each female pilgrim’s muharram (the approved male companion accompanying her on her trip), usually a husband, father or brother. When they could not produce any, the Saudis promptly detained them were threatening to deport them back to Nigeria on the next available hajj plane.

The pilgrim were said to have arrived Jeddah in two separate Max Air flights. One of the planes was conveying pilgrims from Jigawa State while the second plane had pilgrims from Sokoto State. The nearly 400 women were only allowed to be supplied with water and food by the Saudis after strenuous efforts by the Nigerian Consul in Jeddah and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Alhaji Nurudeen, as it was also learnt.

Contacted on telephone from Sokoto, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad who is the Amirul Hajj condemned the Saudi action in the strongest terms and described it as “an insult to Nigeria and to this country’s millions of Muslims.” He said the Saudi action came as a total surprise to Nigeria’s hajj authorities because during the numerous meetings held between Nigerian and Saudi officials to prepare for this year’s hajj, the issue of muharram for female pilgrims was never raised.

The Sultan said, “They never raised this issue and never demanded that the female pilgrims must have a muharram. They did not make this a requirement for issuing visas. They issued visas to all these pilgrims, only to embarrass, detain and threaten to deport them when they arrived in the holy land. How can they do this to us? The chairman of the National Hajj Commission assured me that the Saudis never asked for this during all the meetings they held. This is very unfortunate. We have done a lot over the years to improve on our hajj operation and we do not deserve this humiliation.” 

The Sultan also said that he had ordered the Nigerian pilgrims not to walk voluntarily into planes to be deported. “Let the Saudis physically carry them into the planes and deport them,” he said. “They issued them with valid visas, only to shift the goal posts at the very last minute, when they had already arrived in Jeddah.”


  1. Since the Saudi authorities never made it a condition for women performing Hajj, it is very wrong for Nigerian women to be treated with such utter disdain. It is high time the Nigerian Government reviewed our bi-literal relationship with some of these countries that take us for granted.

  2. The sultan is definitely not fit to be amirul hajj if he doesn’t know the provisons of Shari’ah. Every intending pilgrim knows that a guardian(husband,father,uncle,brother,in-law,grandfather,etc) for a female is compulsory,so they do not need the Saudi authorities to remind them. This is to show that most muslims go on pilgrimage as a show of affluence and not out of faith. Pls Nigerians correct yourselves and stop dragging the name of this country in the mud. Soon,it will be misconstrued by those who do not know the rules.

  3. The Hajj operators are lairs I have been to hajj and when appying for a Visa there is a space for muharram their But they is a way all does agent go round it and fill In peoples name so that the can be issued.if the sultan and Hajj operators are truly good muslims they Must know the rules Of Hajj. But corruption and greed has finished I don’t blame the saudi people cos if they give nigerian the chance for all that they will turn the place to a market place and disgrace us the More,so those people should b deported back homecos they neva still change on the Hajj they still do the bad tins of life.pls come back home saudi is not a fashion place u can go to Iran,iraq and syria and join dem in War.

  4. Nigerians should learn to obey rules and regulations. Our people have violated the law. Let us apologize rather than giving excuses.Not every country is like Nigeria, where an individual breaks the law without being penalized. We all know the truth about the law.

  5. It is very gud 4them. I wish the saudi arabians will starve them again or set dogs on them, or even behead all of them. I will now know what that stupid sultan will do. Idiot of a man. Are they babies? They know their religion very well. Must they be told how to breathe? Are they imbeciles? They think this is Nigeria where dogs like babangida and abacha are worshipped! Stupid people. Serves them right!