The series of release of Nigerians in Saudi Arabia who have been accused and arrested for drug trafficking has not stopped.
Ibrahim Abubakar has regained his freedom days after Zainab Aliyu was released after being detained for alleged drug trafficking.
The Saudi Arabian government has released Ibrahim Abubakar, a Nigerian who was wrongly arrested for drug trafficking, to the Nigerian Mission in Jeddah.
His release was announced by President Muhammadi Buhari’s media aide, Bashir Ahmad, who disclosed on his Twitter account (@BashirAhmaad) on Thursday, May 2, 2019 that Abubakar’s case was similar to that of Zainab Aliyu who was also released on Tuesday, April 30.
“Saudi Authorities release Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar to the Nigerian Consulate in Jeddah, KSA. He was arrested over alleged drug trafficking, the same offence as Zainab Habib Aliyu, who was also released recently,” he posted.
It’s unclear when and under what circumstances Abubakar was arrested by Saudi authorities but Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, was arrested on December 26, 2018 for allegedly travelling with a luggage containing tramadol, a banned substance.
Zainab had travelled through the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) for Lesser Hajj with her mother, Maryam, and sister, Hajara.
A petition filed by Aliyu’s family later led the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to uncover a cartel at MAKIA which specialised in planting illicit drugs in travellers’ luggage.
The arrest of seven members of the cartel led to the discovery that the tramadol-bearing luggage was planted on Aliyu without her knowledge.
Aliyu was released after the government was able to establish her innocence. The same is believed to have been what led to Abubakar’s release as President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed on Monday, April 29 that the government was working on securing the release of three Nigerians from the Saudi Arabian government. With Aliyu ad Abubakar now free, the status of the third person remains unknown.
Saudi operates a very strict form of Islamic law and regularly dishes out death sentences for crimes such as homicide, rape, and armed robbery, facing backlash from many human rights organisations.
A Nigerian woman, Kudirat Afolabi, was executed in Mecca on Monday, April 1 for drugs trafficking. Three days later on April 4, another Nigerian, Wahid Somade, was arrested at Jeddah airport with about 1,138g of cocaine.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, eight Nigerians have been killed in the past few years after drug trafficking convictions in Saudi Arabia and no fewer than 20 Nigerians are currently on death row in the ultra-conservative state.