Foreign Affairs Ministry explains delay in evacuating Nigerian students abroad
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has justified the delay in the airlift of certain Nigerian students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The aggrieved Nigerians have accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jedda, of deliberately refusing to facilitate their evacuation to Nigeria for holiday since May 15, 2020.
They further alleged that the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jedda refused to issue permits to them to travel home and failed to secure Over Flight Clearance and Landing Permit for the Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) to airlift Nigerians from the Kingdom.
But the Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye denied the accusations.
Nwonye claimed that the Saudi airline which was supposed to evacuate the Nigerians “never informed the Embassy of the dates or sought for approval of the proposed dates from Nigeria either through the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh or the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jedda, which is against the spirit of established diplomatic protocols, hence the inability to operate the said flights. ”
He equally denied allegation of financial inducement by the Nigerian Embassy officials from operators of the Saudi airline.
The statement further read in part: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to put it on record that the Embassy Officials did not demand for any commission of graft from the Airlines as insinuated by the misinformed select Nigerian Students, whose allegations have since been condemned and refuted by the leadership of Nigerian Students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The Ministry wishes to recall that the Embassy of Nigeria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia successfully facilitated the evacuation of 117 Nigerians from the Kingdom via Azman Air Services Limited, Flight No: ZQ381 of 19th July, 2020, and is committed in ensuring that the right processes and established guidelines are adhered to in the evacuation of Nigerian Nationals.