The embattled Nigerian student, Zainab Aliyu, who was arrested by Saudi Arabia authorities over false drug trafficking charges, has finally landed in Nigeria on Monday from Saudi Arabia.
Zainab was falsely accused of trafficking drugs into Saudi Arabia while visiting the country in the company of her mother and sister in December 2018.
Following investigations by the Nigerian government, it was revealed that the drug was planted in Zainab’s luggage by a cartel that specialises in planting drugs in the bags of unsuspecting travellers.
The Federal government and the Saudi Arabian government had a diplomatic engagement which led to her release, The Sun reported
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, reported that Zainab was released to the Nigerian Mission in Saudi Arabia after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the immediate intervention of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami in her case.
However, Ambassador Suleiman briefed journalists in Abuja that the release was secured after an intense diplomatic engagement between the federal government and the Saudi Arabian government. He said it took several note verbal from the government sent to the Saudi Embassy in Abuja and its Consulate in Kano over the matter and all diplomatic channels available were used to ensure the successful release.
“We piled up the pressure of interventions and there have been discussions at various levels between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi authorities,” Suleiman added.
“In addition to that, our ministry, in conjunction with the mission in Saudi has been able to bring to the attention of Saudi, the level of the innocence of these people. “We have engaged in other diplomatic ways, we have written several note verbal, we have also from here sent the same note verbale to the Saudi embassy here and the consulate in Kano. “We have several interventions and various discussion between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General of the Federation on this same issue. “We have passed documents relating to the trial of the suspects that were arrested in Kano, we have also passed same information of the judicial process,” Suleiman said. Obviously elated, Suleiman said the development was cheering to the Nigerian government and Zainab’s family. The ambassador further said that another Nigerian, Ibrahim Abubakar, was also wrongly detained and will also be soon released. Abubakar, Suleiman added, was not released because the authorities got to his detention centre during close of work. He is reportedly billed to be released on Wednesday, May 1.
“I am happy to announce to you that in the last couple of minutes, Zainab is with our mission in Saudi and we believe that the other gentleman will be released before tomorrow. “Because by the time they were able to get his file, it was closing hour and before they got to his location where he is being kept, it was already late,” Suleiman said.