More than 1,000 Nigerian women pilgrims remained stranded at a Saudi airport for a fifth straight day Thursday after being denied entry into the kingdom because they were not accompanied by men, an airport official confirmed.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the women have been denied entry because “they are not accompanied by a mahram (the statutory male companion),” adding that talks were continuing between Saudi and Nigerian officials.
The official said that the Nigerian consulate in Jeddah had offered to ensure the women’s return after the annual hajj pilgrimage, but Saudi immigration officials were “sticking to their position.”
The kingdom has yet to release a formal statement regarding the case.
The women had begun arriving at Jeddah airport on Sunday, a report by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, which oversees Nigerian participation in the pilgrimage, said.
Martin sent us these photos of the actual event: