President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation, to immediately intervene in the case of Zainab Aliyu, an official has said.
Ms Aliyu is a Nigerian student detained in Saudi Arabia after hard drugs were found in a bag labelled in her name at a Saudi airport.
The Nigerian government, through the drug-enforcement agency, NDLEA, has since said Ms Aliyu was a victim of a cartel at the Aminu Kano airport in Kano. The cartel reportedly specialises in placing hard drugs in bags in the names of air travellers, to their destination countries.
Some members of the cartel have been reportedly arrested.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed Buhari’s directive in a statement made available to newsmen by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Monday.
Dabiri-Erewa said the president gave the directive two weeks ago ”when the matter was brought to his attention.”
She said, “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,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She said progress was being made in Aliyu’s case, along with two others in similar circumstances, in Saudi Arabia.
Dabiri-Erewa said Aliyu, “though detained, has 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.
“Mr Habib Aliyu, the father of the alleged drug courier, Zainab Aliyu, had appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Saudi authorities and the international community, as well as well-meaning individuals to intervene in her daughter’s case and save the ‘innocent’ lady from being executed wrongly.
“Habibu Aliyu, who is not happy that his daughter is cooling off in a Saudi prison, despite the recent discovery that she was framed up by some drug cartel, explained that the allegations of Zainab entering the country with Tramadol, was absolute falsehood as recent events and arrests have confirmed the girl’s innocence.
“Zainab, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, had travelled from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) in company with 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 dosage of Tramadol was later discovered to be a victim of a cartel that specialises in keeping hard drugs in travellers’ bags, some of whom are already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),” the statement added.