LOCAL media report from Saudi Arabia had it that the Saudis requested each female pilgrim to provide her muharram – the approved male companion accompanying her on her trip, usually a husband, father or brother and that those that couldn’t produce any, were detained.
The authorities further threatened to deport the pilgrims to Nigeria. The pilgrims arrived Jeddah in two separate Max Air flights Sunday afternoon. One of the planes, conveyed pilgrims from Jigawa State while the second conveyed pilgrims from Sokoto State.
The nearly 400 women were only allowed to be supplied with water and food by the Saudis after strenuous efforts by the Nigerian Consul in Jeddah and a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad, who is the Amirul Hajj, has condemned the action of the Saudi authorities, describing it as “an insult to Nigeria and to this country’s millions of Muslims.
”The Sultan said, “They never raised this issue and never demanded that the female pilgrims must have a muharram.”