Nigerian embassy in Saudi Arabia throws light on the alleged snubbing of the family of President Muhammadu Buhari when it arrived for the lesser Hajj.
Ahmed Umar, the consular-general of the embassy has said that it neither side-stepped protocol nor gave special treatment to the family of ex vice president Namadi Sambo.
According to the senior consular official Umar, contrary to the media reports, was appointed because of his competence and experience.
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The source, who pledged to be anonymous, also rejected reports that consular-general disregarded Buhari’s wife and her wife children, saying that Umar accompanied the Nigerian ambassador in Saudi Arabia to welcome Aisha Buhari, and her children at the airport.
It was also said that the apartment arrangements for both families were the right of Saudi officials and that any guest had right to get another aprtment at his or her outflow if displeased with the formal arrangement.
On the supposed favoured treatment given to Sambo by Umar, the source also said former vice president really paid for his hotel accommodation, save for the fact that he was transported from the airport, the same privilege accorded to Hajia Buhari.
He said: “Then the issue of the wife of the president paying for her accommodation is a normal practice, and the same thing applies to other wives of presidents who visit Saudi Arabia when they are not satisfied with the accommodation provided.
“In fact, we tried to get her a much better accommodation but that was what was provided by the Saudi Arabian authorities.
“So, this is the true state of things and not the other way round as reported. It is also not true that the consular-general is a stooge of the former vice president; they met each other when he had already been appointed to his present position.”
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The source also added that the consular general extended all the necessary protocol due to the wife of the president of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that families of ex vice president and Muhammadu Buhari had arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier this week for the Umrah and while Aisha Buhari and her five children were given a two-bedroom apartment, Namadi Sambo was allotted an eight-room accommodation.