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Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2019

Drug trafficking: Reps probe arrest of 2 Nigerians in Saudi Arabia

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By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to investigate circumstances that led to the arrest of two Nigerians by the Saudi Arabia authorities over alleged drug trafficking.
The resolution followed the consideration and adoption of the motion sponsored by Hon. Muraina Ajibola (PDP-Oyo).
Leading the debate, Ajibola recalled the incident that involved Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim Abubakar in Saudi Arabia, saying it would have caused a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the foreign country’s authorities.
He said: “Federal Government after series of displomatic negotiations, on April 2019, secured the release of Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim Abubakar from Saudi Arabian authorities after establishing their innocence on alleged drug trafficking case against them, which would have led to their execution.
“Saudi Arabia has zero tolerance for drug trafficking as the crime is a violation of Sharia law and that some Nigerians have been executed over the crime, the latest being Kudirat Afolabi, a widow and mother of two,” he said.
Hon. Ajibola who frowned over the development, observed that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) established that Zainab Aliyu, a student of Yusuf Maitama Sule University Kano, was a victim of a drug cartel that specializes in placing hard drugs in bags of travellers.
“NDLEA launched an investigation that led to the arrest of 10 suspects and from their interrogation, six of them confessed their level of involvement in the nefarious act,” he recalled.
According to him, following the outcome of the investigation, NDLEA asserted that the Departure Hall was always overcrowded with the possibilities of members of the public gaining access to restricted areas.
“NDLEA in an effort to curb a future re-occurrence recommended that passengers will now be allowed into the Departure Hall for screening in batches for proper security checks.
“Airline operators are now to provide a form where each passenger will indicate the number of luggages he or she was travelling with and the form will be duplicated with the passenger having one, while the airline operator will keep the duplicate.
“More NDLEA officers are to be posted to man the screening points at the airports. The absence of modernized luggage scanning machines that can detect narcotic and psychopathic drugs in the airports is still a big challenge to the agency.
“The numerous lock-up shops in the airport should be properly manned by airport security personnel,” he stated.
He said that airport authorities should step up their efforts to secure the Nigerians gateways properly.
“Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have failed to carry-out their statutory duties in ensuring that passengers are well screened before departure and given necessary security checks and clearance in line with international practice”, to “avert Nigerians from being made to face embarrassing security checks in their destination countries or being roped in on phantom allegations.”
Ruling on the motion, the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila announced that an Ad-hoc Committee would be constituted to investigate the motion.
The committee was given 6 weeks within which conclude its assignment and report back to the House for further legislative action.

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