The Saudi Arabian government has apologized to the people of Nigeria over the brutalization of two Nasarawa State Pilgrims by Customs officials at Prince Muhammad Bn Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah on Wednesday.Audu Muhammad and Ibrahim Godi were said to have been brutalized by two customs officers shortly after their arrival from Abuja.
According to the Secretary of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Bello Tambuwal, the two pilgrims were called aside by the Customs officers “after they had passed through all the necessary checks earlier and they became apprehensive and refused to follow the officials which led to their being brutalized”.
Dr. Tambuwal said after they were mistreated, he personally took the two pilgrims to two different hospitals, one run by Nigeria’s National Medical Team and the other by the Saudi government.
“The Saudi’s also offered to foot the medical bill of the two pilgrims,” he said.
The Deputy Governor of Madinah, Wahid Asahin, on Monday visited the pilgrims’ Hotel, Riyad Al Zahra, in the Markaziya area of Madinah to personally convey the apologies of the Saudi Arabian authorities over the matter.Mr. Asahin described the incident as regrettable.Speaking through the Deputy Minister for Hajj Affairs, Mohammed Abdulrahman Al Bijawi, the deputy governor assured Nigerian officials that “such incidence will not occur again” adding that disciplinary measures were already being taken against two officials involved in the incident.
The deputy governor visited the pilgrims in their hotel rooms and presented some gifts to them.Speaking with reporters after the visit, Nigeria’s Charge de Affairs in Jeddah, Umar Salisu, said immediately after the incident was reported, NAHCON filed a formal complaint to Saudi Arabian Hajj authorities in Madinah demanding action.He said the embassy “also filed a formal complaint on behalf of the Nigerian Government to Saudi Arabian authorities in Riyadh.”He said the action taken by Nigeria encouraged the Saudi Government officials to take the actions taken on the matter so far.