Nigeria has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia for the annual haj pilgrimage, following a diplomatic spat over the detention of hundreds of female pilgrims for arriving unaccompanied by men.
Saudi authorities have deported more than 600 female Nigerian pilgrims and detained hundreds for trying to visit the holy city of Mecca without male relatives.
Aminu Tambuwal, Nigeria’s parliament speaker and the second most powerful Muslim in the government, was due to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday to try to resolve the spat.
“The airlift operations have been temporary stopped … It does not make sense to airlift people to be detained on landing. We will resume when all outstanding issues are resolved,” Uba Mana, spokesman of National Hajj Commission, said by telephone.