Saudi Arabia has confirmed reports of deportation of Nigerian citizens upon arrival into the kingdom for failing to meet its entry requirements.   

The deportations took place while Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu was still in Saudi Arabia for the inaugural Saudi-Africa summit and meetings with Saudi government and business executives.   

On Monday, Saudi Arabian authorities denied entry to the Gulf state for the 177 passengers upon their arrival in Jeddah on an Air Peace flight from the West Africa nation, while 87 others were allowed to enter, local media reported.    

The Saudi Embassy in Abuja said in a statement that the deported Nigerians had provided inaccurate information in order to get a visa category that did not apply to them, which was uncovered upon their arrival in Jeddah.   

“The passengers, who were denied entry, and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, did not fulfil the entry conditions and requirements in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Kingdom," the statement from the Embassy said.   

They had instead submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that did not apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival, it said.   

Thousands of Nigerian Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage, including Tinubu who made a trip to Mecca on Monday, and previous cases of mass deportations have occurred.   

In January 2021, Nigeria evacuated hundreds of its citizens from Saudi Arabia after they overstayed their visas and were stranded.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )