Alleged drug trafficking: Buhari’s intervention leads to Zainab Aliyu’s freedom

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Zainab Aliyu, the Nigerian lady, who was detained by the Saudi Arabian authorities over drug related issue, has been released.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, said she was released yesterday to the Nigerian Mission in Saudi Arabia.

Her release followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to immediately intervene in the case.

News of her release broke hours after the Senate, at plenary resolved to send a delegation to dialogue with Saudi authorities and to probe the matter.

The ordeal of Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, began when she travelled from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and was arrested in Saudi Arabia for being in possession of tramadol.

The father, Habib Aliyu, had appealed to the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian Governments and the international community to intervene in her case.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Suleiman, said the release of Aliyu was realized after intense diplomatic engagements between the Federal Government and the Saudi Arabian Government.

Suleiman added that the Federal Government made fruitful efforts to establish the innocence of Aliyu and another Nigerian, Ibrahim Abubakar, who is billed to be released today.

Abubakar, Suleiman added, was not released yesterday because the authorities got to his detention centre after close of work.

Suleiman said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deployed all available diplomatic channels to ensure the release of the duo.

Suleiman who said the development was cheering to the Nigerian Government and the family of Aliyu revealed that investigations by the Nigerian authorities revealed that a drug cartel in Nigeria packaged drugs in her luggage, which led to the arrest, even as he said the drug culprits have been arrested and will be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, the Senate has resolved to send a seven-man delegation, led by its president, Bukola Saraki, to Saudi Arabia, to intervene in setting free Zainab Habibu Aliyu currently held in prison.

Also on the delegation are Kabiru Gaya, Abdullahi Adamu, Aliyu Wamakko, Sam Egwu, Abdullahi Gumel, Sunmonu Monsurat and Shehu Sani.

The decision of the Senate followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Gaya and all senators.

The lawmaker, while leading the debate, said Aliyu travelled to Saudi Arabia and some cabals planted Tramadol in a luggage in her name.

“Zainab had no idea where the said luggage came from because she came with only one luggage. Following her arrest, her father wrote a petition. NDLEA launched an investigation after the petition.

“The culprits confessed orally to committing the crime. They were released on bail, while Saudi Arabia is still holding the girl. Zainab’s case is one of the many cases of innocent Nigerians,” Gaya said.

Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan, called for drastic action against operators who have taken to planting drugs in the bags of innocent Nigerians.

“So many people might have been executed for crimes they knew nothing about. We need our committees on foreign affairs, drugs and narcotics, etc to investigate this matter and find out how this thing happened.”

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