Zainab Aliyu: detained in Saudi Arabia since December 2018
By Esther Adeniji/Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to intervene in the case of Nigerian student, Zainab Aliyu detained by Saudi Arabia authorities.
Zainab Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, who travelled for Lesser Hajj in Dec. 2018 was detained by the Saudi Arabia authorities for allegedly being in possession of a banned substance, Tramadol.
Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, said this in a statement by her Media Aide, Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Monday in Abuja.
“President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive immediately the matter was brought to his attention about two weeks ago.
“My office has been working with the AGF as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard,” she said.
The Presidential aide assured that progress was being made in Zainab’s case along with two others held in similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia.
“Zainab, although detained, had not been put on trial by the Saudi Arabia government.
“And with the hard evidence that those who implicated her have been arrested, a strong legal case is being made to the Saudi authorities,” she said.
Mr Habib Aliyu, the father of the alleged drug courier, Zainab, had appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in her daughter’s case and save the ‘innocent’ lady from being executed wrongly.
Aliyu also called on the Saudi authorities and the international community as well as well-meaning individuals to intervene.
Zainab’s father had expressed displeasure over his daughter’s arrest and detention in a Saudi Prison in spite of the recent discovery that she was framed by some drug cartel.
He had explained that the allegations of Zainab entering the country with Tramadol was absolute falsehood as recent events and arrests had confirmed the girl’s innocence.
Zainab, had travelled from Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in company of her mother, Mrs Maryam Aliyu, and sister Hajara Aliyu.
She was later arrested over allegations that a luggage, bearing her name tag, contained the unlawful substance.
Zainab who was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with an illegal dose of Tramadol was later discovered to be a victim of a cartel that specialised in keeping hard drugs in travellers’ bags.
According to the statement some members of the drug cartel are already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Amnesty International and many Nigerians on Monday night campaigned for Zainab’s release.
Amnesty said: Saudi Arabian authorities must free Zainab Habibu Aliyu. Her ordeal shows everything wrong with death penalty. Let us raise our voices, until Zainab is free. No one knows who can be the next victim of such injustice. #FreeZainab #Nigeria #ZainabIsInnocent”