Saudi Arabia arrests 800 Nigerians, FG asks UAE to lift travel ban

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The Saudi Arabian government arrested and detained about 800 Nigerians for various offences, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission said on Friday. It said the offences included violation of residency rules, illegal border crossing attempts and that some irregular migrants were arrested for labour-related offences.

A statement by the commission’s Head of Public Relations, Gabriel Odu, said the Saudi authorities, in its communication to the Federal Government, pointed out that 45,458 illegal migrants were in its country, which prompted the need to get rid of the undocumented foreigners. The exercise was said to have held between October and December, 2022.

The Federal Government has therefore urged Nigerians travelling to the country to do proper documentation.

The statement added, “NiDCOM therefore urges Nigerians travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without proper documentation not to do so as Saudi authorities have heightened a clamp down on irregular migrants. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has about 800 Nigerians arrested and detained for various offences particularly consular issues since the exercise began in October, 2022.

“Though the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi is intervening in the matter, NiDCOM urges Nigerians to resist breaking the laws of other countries.”

The statement noted that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), also appealed to the United Arab Emirates’ President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to lift the suspension of the blanket visa ban on Nigerians travelling to the country. “The commission has appealed to Nigerian citizens that if they must travel, they should travel with proper documentation and legitimately too,” it added.

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