In a recent development, the Nigerian government has launched an investigation into the cancellation of 264 passengers visas travelling via Air Peace from Lagos and Kano to Jeddah. This incident, occurring unexpectedly on Sunday, left the Nigerian citizens aboard without entry into Saudi Arabia.
The Incident and Immediate Repercussions
The cancellation of the Air Peace passengers’ visas in Jeddah has drawn widespread attention. The passengers, on reaching Jeddah, were confronted with the unforeseen cancellation, prompting immediate diplomatic action. Alkasim Abdulkadir, the media aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that an investigation is underway to ascertain whether any consular or aviation regulations have been violated.
This cancellation comes against the backdrop of Nigeria’s active participation in the Saudi-Africa Summit, underscoring the potential impact on bilateral relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is determined to ensure that such actions, which significantly affect Nigerian citizens, are prevented in the future, in line with the strategic directives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Sources close to the situation, as reported by BusinessDay, expressed their astonishment at the cancellation of the Air Peace passengers’ visas from Jeddah. It’s noteworthy that the passengers had passed through the Advanced Passengers Prescreening System (APPS), which also involved monitoring by Saudi Arabian authorities. This has led to speculations about the motive behind this sudden action, especially considering Air Peace’s successful operation and fully booked flights to the same destination.
Diplomatic Efforts and Partial Resolution
Following the involvement of the Nigerian embassy, the Saudi authorities reportedly agreed to reduce the number of passengers to be returned to Nigeria to 170, down from the initial 264. This partial resolution, while alleviating some immediate concerns, underscores the need for a thorough investigation and resolution to ensure the non-recurrence of such incidents, highlighting the delicate nature of international aviation and diplomatic relations.
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