171 female pilgrims from Katsina and Taraba States of Nigeria who set out for Hajj were subjected to humiliation in Saudi Arabia as they were on Wednesday deported from the Holy Land after being detained for hours. They all landed at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano from the Medina Airport without accomplishing their mission in the Holy land.
The deported pilgrims lamented that for three days, they were detained at the Medina airport under discomforting conditions. Failing to show up at the airport with their guardians (husbands or male partners) described as Muharram, was the only crime they committed.
The Saudi immigration law stipulates that female pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia who are 40 years and below must be accompanied by their husbands or guardians, failing which they will not be cleared by the immigration at the point of entry, even when they have valid entry visas.
In all, about 1,000 Nigerian women were detained in Saudi Arabia over their failure to travel with their Muharram.
Recounting her experience, Aishatu Ismail from Taraba State, told reporters that “we have seen hell because the security people in Medina detained us for three days without food and care.
“The Saudi authorities caged us in one open space without allowing us to move an inch, and we were given no food; neither were we allowed to even buy any with our money. As you can see us now, we spent three days without food at the Medina airport.”
She lamented that all through their detention, “No any official of the Federal Government or state came to our rescue. Nobody attended to us in Medina, partly because the security officials over there just caged us and did not allow anybody to come close to us, all because they say we do not have guardians in our intended hajj exercise. We were terribly humiliated by the Saudi authorities. I also hope that if the issue is settled between the Nigerian officials and the Saudi authorities, we may likely be going back for the pilgrimage.”