Nigeria Partners S/Arabia On Security, Stable Oil Market

Photo credit @Saudi Gazette

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated Nigeria’s support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its efforts to stop the spread of terror in the Middle East.

President Buhari said this on Tuesday at a meeting with King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh, where the two leaders engaged in extensive discussions on regional and global issues.

President Buhari, who was making his first pronouncement on the invitation to join the coalition of Islamic States against terror, congratulated the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its formation.

“Even if we are not a part of it, we support you. I must thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the recent creation of a coalition to address the menace of international terrorism.

“Nigeria will support your efforts in keeping peace and stopping the spread of terror in your region. This is in consonance with our own commitment and ongoing efforts in seeking to stamp out Boko Haram terrorists from the West African sub-region and Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC),” the President said.

Problem Of Terrorism
Speaking on global terror generally, President Buhari stressed the need for various nations to come together to tackle the menace.

“International terrorism made a statement by attacking one of the advanced countries by carrying out an attack on Paris in which 130 were killed. Now we have to come together to find a common solution to the problem of terrorism,” he said.

The President also thanked the Saudi government for its continuing support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

President Buhari regretted that the late Libyan leader, Muammar Ghaddafi, recruited, trained and armed citizens of many states in the Sahel region, lamenting that with Ghaddafi’s fall, these mercenaries have returned to their countries, “doing nothing but to shoot and kill”.

He cited Burkina Faso and Mali as the main victims but expressed happiness that the countries neighbouring the Lake Chad have tightened their ranks to finish off the Boko Haram threat.

“Luckily, we have cultivated our neighbours. We are now working together against Boko Haram, otherwise the problem would have become worse,” he said.

In his remarks, King Salman commended the progress made by Nigeria in combating terrorism and promised to give further support and assistance.

He welcomed the support of the Nigerian government for the new anti-terrorism coalition and implored President Buhari to consider its full membership.

King Salman also pledged his full support and cooperation to Nigeria under its present leadership and directed all agencies of his government to follow up on the discussions.

“I now instruct my team to go and sit down with your relevant agencies to push forward cooperation between our states,” he said.

President Buhari and King Salman expressed hope that the Libyan factions would soon see reason to reunite and restore fully their own country so as to save the world from further terrorism spin-offs from that country.

Both leaders expressed commitment to a stable oil market and a rebound of oil prices.

They also focused on trade between their states and agreed to give fresh impetus to the joint commission previously established in order to boost commercial and other activities to unify their citizens.

Both Leaders ‘Committed’ To Oil Price Stability

The two leaders “committed themselves to doing all that is possible to stabilize the market and rebound the oil price”, Garba Shehu said in a statement.

The two leaders accepted the fact that their two economies are tied to oil, adding that all cannot be well with both countries when the world oil market is unstable, he added.

Dozens Killed, Many Injured In Saudi Hospital Fire

Saudi-ArabiaThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suffered a great tragedy after at least 25 people have been killed and 100 injured in a hospital fire.

Officials say the inferno started at the intensive care and maternity departments of the Jazan General Hospital in the Southern part of the Saudi Kingdom.

In a tweet, the Civil Defence Agency said that an investigation was underway to find out the cause of the blaze.

Those injured in the fire are reported to have been transferred to private and general hospitals in the area.

Saraki Decries Saudi’s Visa Issuance Policy

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-President-NigeriaThe Senate President Bukola Saraki has criticized the entry visa issuance policy of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Nigeria for this year’s Lesser Hajj.

Senator Saraki, who arrived Medinah on Saturday listened to complaints from some Nigerians who are performing the Lesser Hajj and noted that the Saudi authorities, unlike other embassies in the country, refused to articulate a visa policy which potential visitors to the holy land can follow and obtain their entry visa without any difficulty once they meet the requirements.

In a statement from the media office of the Senate President, Senator Saraki stated that the present process in which visitors to Saudi must go through a third party has created artificial bottlenecks now being exploited by the travel agents and the embassy officials.

He said Nigerians are now made to suffer indignities arising from conspiracy between the embassy officials and the agents.

The Senate President further lamented that the process is fraught with corrupt practices.

He  reassured Nigerians that the Saudi visa policy will be one of the issues the Senate will look into when it resumes plenary later in the month and that the Saudi authorities as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja will be engaged to find a lasting solution to the problems of visa issuance to Nigerians by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Visa Application To Saudi Arabia Is Now Corrupt – Prof Ishaq Oloyede

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been accused of corruption in the issuance of visas to Nigerian pilgrims.

The Secretary-General, Nigeria Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, who made the indictment, believes the holy land should be more transparent in the exercise against corruption.

He was speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital south west Nigeria during a special Iftar organized by the Ogun state government with the theme; the principles, the myth, the politics and the sciences of moon sighting in Nigeria.

Speaking to the topic, the erudite scholar asked Saudi Arabia to be a leading partner with Nigeria in the fight against corruption.

The Governor of Ogun state, Ibikunle Amosun while giving his goodwill message at the occasion admonished Nigerians to apply those lessons of the holy period in nation building.

While asking for more support and understanding of the people of the state for his administration’s policies and programmes, the governor in turn used the occasion to reaffirm his commitment towards overall development of the socioeconomic and political fortunes of the state.

Hajj commission suspends all flights to Mecca

With the on-going diplomatic row between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the detention of almost 1,000 female pilgrims and deportation of 171 females for coming to Hajj without male companions, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has temporarily suspended all Hajj flights for the next 48 hours.

This was announced in a statement on Thursday, signed by Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, despite the optimism expressed by the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Nigeria.

The ambassador, Mr. Khaled Abdrabuh, had earlier stated that the controversy over the detention of 908 female Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and the deportation of some will be resolved later today.

According to the statement, the Hajj Commission claimed it has been “compelled to temporarily suspend all Hajj flights for the next 48 hours”, “following the unprecedented and worrisome development of detaining over 1000 female pilgrims from Nigeria at the King Abdulazeez International Airport Jeddah and Prince Muhammad Ibn azeez International Airport Madinah.”

The Commission claimed it is taking this step after wide consultation with all stakeholders.

“This is to enable the Commission appraise the situation critically with the view to surmount all the challenges being faced” the statement added.

The Hajj Commission urged “all intending pilgrims to remain calm as all hands are on deck to resolve the issue and hajj flights will resume once resolved.”

It also gave the assurance that “all pilgrims that Nigerian carriers appointed for the 2012 Hajj Airlift have sufficient capacity to airlift the remaining 60,000 pilgrims well ahead of the closure of Jeddah airport on 20th October, 2012.”

The National Hajj Commission, had earlier stated that 908 female Nigerian pilgrims were refused entry into Saudi Arabia, alleging that they breached the escort rules for female pilgrims under Saudi law.

The law of the Islamic nation stipulates that any female pilgrim that is not over 40years old must be accompanied by a male who should either be her husband, brother or father.

The Federal Government on Wednesday gave the Saudi Arabian government 24 hours to resolve the issue as instructed by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, after he summoned the Arabian envoy to his office.

Close to 100,000 Nigerians are estimated to partake in the Hajj which is one of the pillars of Islam,

More than two million Muslims from around the world are due to converge on Mecca for this year’s Hajj, which is set to culminate over a four-day period between 24-29 October.