A total of 189 Nigerians are currently serving jail terms in Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Foaud Abdulaziz RaJeh.
The ambassador who spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Vice President Namadi Sambo said the Saudi Arabian government was looking forward towards information sharing, training and exchange of prisoners.
The ambassador noted that there were over 1.7million Nigerians in Saudi Arabia adding that 95 per cent of them were Saudi Arabian citizens whom Saudi
Arabians are proud of. According to him, Nigerian businessmen, particularly from Kogi and Sokoto states among other states had attracted Saudi investors to engage in business relationships of up to $3 billion in areas related to sugar and agriculture.
Rajeh added that on his assumption of office, he noticed that the Saudi Arabian government had offered 220 scholarships for Higher Education and Bachelors’ degrees to Nigerians on Islamic Studies and Arabic knowledge.
He stressed that he ensured that it was increased to 750 for both genders. He said the scholarships cover edareas of Medicine, Engineering and Agriculture.
In his remarks, Vice President Namadi Sambo called for increased bilateral ties between Nigerian and Saudi Arabia. The vice president noted that both countries had had long-standing diplomatic ties and therefore stressed the need for the establishment of a bi-national commission by the two countries. On the prisons exchange programme request, Sambo said government would follow it up to ensure its actualisation while expressing Nigeria’s concern over the deportation of some of her citizens.
The vice president noted that terrorism was a global phenomenon, saying that countries needed to put their acts together to cooperate in order to arrest the menace.
He also reminded the Saudi ambassador of the desire of President Goodluck Jonathan to visit Saudi Arabia early next year. The vice president expressed his support for the Saudi authority’s request for greater cooperation in socio-economic and security situations and appreciated the support of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to Nigeria.