More than a month after the Nigerian government enabled the release of Zainab Aliyu from Saudi Arabia Prison, the Senate yesterday has decided to prosecute the cartel responsible for planting illicit drugs in her luggage.
Naija News recalls that Zainab was arrested in December 2018, after tramadol content was planted in her luggage at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The Senate, therefore during its plenary yesterday noted that the action of the culprits could have led to the execution of some innocent Nigerians.
They noted that Aliyu and the other affected passengers would have been executed in foreign countries for the offense they did not commit but for the intervention of the Federal Government that ordered an investigation into the matter.
The motion, ‘to strengthen security at the nation’s airports‘, sponsored by Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central) was unanimously supported by the lawmakers who resolved to ensure the case is pursued to its logical end with those found culpable punished to serve as a deterrent to others who are in the habit of endangering the lives of innocent Nigerians.
The lawmakers urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other relevant agencies to ensure all presumed on duty be held accountable. They also urged the committee on aviation when constituted to ensure legislative compliance.
FAAN was also expected to ensure installation and effective use of CCTV cameras and other security systems in all Nigerian airports for the purpose of monitoring the environments to check to plant of illicit drugs and other illegal activities. The agency was directed to allow only accredited personnel on duty in restricted areas of the airports.
Presenting the motion, Oloriegbe noted with great concern the report in a national daily on lst of May, 2019 on how Aliyu, a Nigerian, was arrested by Saudi Drug Enforcement Agency on allegation of drugs trafficking.
According to him, another online media also reported, quoting the chief press secretary to the Zamfara State governor, on the 18th June, 2019 the effort of the governor to meet with officials of the Saudi Arabia government to discuss the release of another victim, Alaramma Ibrahim who was in detention for almost two years over alleged drug trafficking and whose arrest also followed an alleged frame-up initiated from the Mallam Aminu Kano
Oloriegbe noted that investigations revealed that there are several other incidents of arrests of innocent Nigerians by the Saudi government and other countries on allegations of drugs trafficking.
According to him, “the arrested Nigerians are just victims of circumstances as many of the distasteful situations would have been curtailed but for security lapses at the Nigerian airports infiltrated by drug syndicates with easy access to plant illicit drugs on innocent travellers or their belongings without their knowledge.”
Oloriegbe said Aliyu and the two other Nigerians were saved from execution by the Saudi government because of the prompt intervention of the Nigerian government after investigations proved they had no knowledge of the drugs in their luggage.He accused personnel of FAAN, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other aviation agencies of dereliction of duties that make the airports unsafe.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said: “I had the opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj and during my trip I was able to engage the embassy personal in Saudi Arabia.“We held discussions on what happened on the issue of Zainab Aliyu and the other person from Zamfara, Alarama, who were arrested.
The story was very pathetic and I decided that we must take every action, that those responsible for planting those illicit drugs in their bags are prosecuted.“So this motion is apt, it is timely and this senate will go ahead to pursue this case to its logical conclusion.”