The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has apologised to the government of Saudi Arabia over the sales of free dates donated by the kingdom to Nigeria.
About 200 tons of dates packaged and circulated as gifts to Nigerian Muslims observing the Ramadan fasting are being sold in the open market in Abuja.
The ministry, in a statement by its spokesperson, Clement Aduku, expressed “disappointment” over the “unfortunate turn of events” but said the matter is being investigated to avoid a repeat in the future.
Aduku said the dates were warehoused by Saudi embassy in Abuja and distributed in the presence of the Charge d’Affaires, Dr Yahya Ali Mughram and the ministry’s director of Middle East and Gulf in conjunction with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
“It is important to note that once the dates were delivered to their final destinations, the ministry of foreign affairs became devoid of any subsequent responsibility. It is therefore disappointing to learn that some of the consignment is being sold for profit,” he said.
The ministry, according to him, expressed gratitude to the Saudi government for the generosity during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We look forward to continuous close cooperation as well as fruitful and fraternal relations between our two countries,” he added.