The Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia supposedly failed to give the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, and her five children the VIP treatment that usually comes with being members of Nigeria's first family.
The Nigerian embassy inexplicably favoured the ex-vice-president Namadi Sambo and his entourage of 15 family members over President Buhari's family when both arrived for the lesser Hajj.
Leadership reports that both families arrived in Saudi Arabia this week for Umrah and while Aisha Buhari and her five children were given a two-bedroom apartment, Sambo was given an eight-room accommodation.
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It was further said that while a protocol officer and vehicles from the embassy were sent to the former vice president and his family, no such assistance was provided to Buhari’s family.
However, an insider from the embassy disclosed that Aisha Buhari had travelled to Saudi Arabia via Emirate Airlines instead of on the presidential airplane, as was the practice in previous governments, and had decided to seek alternative accommodation for herself and her children at her own expense.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Saudi Arabian government organised an official vehicle for the transportation needs of the Nigerian president’s family, as is done for the families of all visiting heads of state.
The source further said that Ahmed Umar, the consular-general, still sees himself as being more obliged to Sambo than anyone else because the former vice-president was instrumental to his elevation and posting to Saudi Arabia.
He still sees himself principally as Sambo’s aide.
The insider added that even the two-bedroom accommodation fixed for Buhari’s family was a result of the efforts of the ambassador, Alhaji Abubakar Bunu, and not the consular-general.
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While the Peoples Democratic Party was in power Buhari and his family were denied any honours by the Nigerian embassy in Saudi Arabia, even those due to a former head of state, because he was in the opposition.
The Umrah is performed by Muslims from all over the world who meet in the holy city of Mecca to perform the ritual, which can be started at any time of the year but mostly observed during the month of Ramadan fasting.
The pilgrims observe a series of worship activities signifying the lives of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his second wife, Hajara.
It should be also recalled that Buhari’s wife has declared that she is not the first lady, she is the wife of the president and will be addressed as such going forward.