The leader of the presidential committee to Saudi Arabia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal on Monday said the Saudi authorities have agreed to accept deported pilgrims that have valid visas.
The speaker was speaking with journalists at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe international airport when the presidential committee to that had travelled to Saudi Arabia on Sunday returned to Nigeria.
“The first good news is that all of those pilgrims, who have secured valid visas, are being taken back and the understanding we have secured so far with them is that they will be allowed entry into Saudi Arabia,” the Speaker said.
“The second success story is that we’ve reinforced the beautiful, long standing relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and assurances have been given to that effect,” he added.
According to Mr Tambuwal, the Saudi authorities is also considering Nigeria’s request of extending the airlifting deadline to accommodate the deported pilgrims.
“Also if need be we’ve requested for them to extend the time of airlift and also the time of issuance of visas to Nigerian pilgrims,” he said.
About 100,000 pilgrims were expected to perform the hajj from Nigeria this year, but the transportation had barely commenced when the first batch of 171 female intending pilgrims was deported after been detained by Saudi authorities at entry point.
More women were subsequently deported, for the same reason of not having male guardians or Muharams to accompany them, in accordance with Saudi laws.
“Ofcourse, under the Islamic jurisprudence, Muharam is a requirement,” Mr Tambuwal said.
He however said that there are different categories of Muharams and that different Islamic schools of thoughts – the Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’I and Maliki have their separate definition of the concept.
“We’ve passed across that message to them and we believe they understand and reason with us that here in Nigeria, the predominant Islamic school of jurisprudence is Maliki School of thoughts, which allows for a group Muharam,” the Speaker said.