President Bola Tinubu
The Presidency has reacted to the cancellation of visas of all 264 passengers on Monday, airlifted by Air Peace on arrival in Jeddah from Kano State.
The flight took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, via the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, on Sunday night and arrived in Jeddah on Monday without issues.
However, on landing, the Saudi Arabian authorities announced that all the passengers’ visas were cancelled and insisted that the airline should return them to Nigeria.
Speaking with Vanguard on the issue on Monday evening, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Tope Ajayi, said the Presidency was aware of the situation but was yet to get the facts of the matter.
The presidential aide added that the presidency and the Nigerian government are waiting to get updates on the matter.
He said: “I am aware of what happened, but we don’t have the facts of what happened. We are waiting to get updates on the matter.”
In a chat with the news platform, some stakeholders in the aviation sector have attributed the development to geopolitics.
They described the development as a way to force the Nigerian operator out of the route unless the government intervened, adopting the principle of reciprocity.
Industry expert and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said the action of the Saudis is obviously geopolitics and diplomacy.
Ojikutu, however, suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs step in immediately and intervene in the case.