Watchdog acts to reverse deportation order for Nigerian in Saudi Arabia

February 16, 2013

Caption: Zainab’s children – Credit: Sabq

A Saudi rights watchdog is racing against time to halt administrative procedures to deport a Nigerian woman from Saudi Arabia, saying that her expulsion was “unacceptable”.

“We are coordinating efforts to find a solution for Zainab, the Nigerian woman married to a Saudi national and mother of Saudi children,” Meflah Al Qah’tani, the head of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), said. “Her detention in a deportation facility is unacceptable and she should be released as she is the mother of Saudi children who critically need her to be with them,” he said in remarks published by local news site Sabq on Wednesday.

Zainab Mohammad Musa, 37, was placed in a centre for foreigners to be deported after she said she was arrested nine months ago, allegedly for begging.

The mother of five said that she was cleaning toilets in Taif, a city on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains in western Saudi Arabia, when the area was raided by the police and she was arrested for begging.

She said that she had been forced to work to secure some money for her children after their father whom she married in November 2001 walked out on the family and stopped looking after them.

The father failed to register the marriage contract and to issue identity documents for the five children despite numerous attempts by benefactors who even offered him money to start the required administrative procedures, the site said.

“We do value the efforts deployed by the Taif official Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Muammar to help with this sad case, especially offering a shelter to the children,” Al Qah’tani said. “The National Society for Human Rights has asked its representative in Taif to look into the issue of the marriage contract and to obtain identification documents for the children. The deportation of Zainab is unacceptable,” he said.

Online comments were compassionate over Zainab’s plight and insisted on helping the family remain together in Saudi Arabia.

“We salute the courage of this woman who braved difficult situations to feed her children,” Rabii 2013, a blogger, wrote. “Her misfortune is that she married someone who does not know the meaning of humanity. He is less sensible than an animal. He should be the one sent to jail for causing her to suffer and his children to feel pain. Why should these children become orphans when both their parents are alive? The father should be made to look after his wife and children and enable them to live in dignity,” Rabii 2013 wrote.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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