Speaker, House Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
The Federal Government has asked the Saudi Arabia authorities to extend the deadline for the airlift of pilgrims to their country to perform this year’s hajj.
The request followed the decision by Saudi authorities to accept the deported Nigerian female pilgrims provided such pilgrims have valid visas.
The Nigerian government said the request was made to enable the Saudi authorities to accommodate the deported female pilgrims from the country penultimate and last week respectively.
The Speaker of the House Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, disclosed this yesterday on arrival from Saudi Arabia.
Tambuwal who led the Presidential committee to Saudi Arabia at the weekend returned to the country yesterday and was received at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Those on the delegation included the Emir of Zuru, Alhaji Sani Sami, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Professor Shehu Galadanchi, Chairman of Nigerian Hajj Commission (NAHCON), Alhaji Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed.
In a chat with journalists at the airport lounge, Tambuwal said the Saudi Arabian authorities are also considering Nigeria’s request of extending the deadline for the air-lift of pilgrims this year in order to accommodate the deported female pilgrims.
The Speaker who expressed happiness at the outcome of the meeting also disclosed that the issue of male companion for female pilgrim was also settled.
The delegation, he said, made it known to the Saudi government that the issue of the companion (Muharam) is open to different interpretations from the four jurisprudences in Islam.
According to him, the meeting reinforced the long standing relationships between the two countries and the need to sustain the relationship.
“Our interface with the Saudi authorities has been very successful because we had serious and deep engagement. The first good news is that all of those pilgrims who have secured valid visa are being taken back
The understanding so far with them is that they will be allowed entry into Saudi Arabia.
“We have also requested them to extend the time of airlift and also the time of issuance of visa to our pilgrims.
“We have also made them understand that under the Islamic jurisprudence, Muharram is a requirement but there are different categories of Muharams, as different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the Maliki, the Shafi’i, the Hambali and the Hanafi.
“These are the four pronounced schools and they have their different definition of Muharam and we have passed across to them that message and we believe that they understand and reason with us that in Nigeria, the predominant Islamic school of jurisprudence is Maliki school of thought, which allows for a group Muharram,” Tambuwal said.