A Nigerian woman and three others have been executed in Saudi Araba for drug trafficking, bringing the number of Nigerians executed in the kingdom in the last three years to eight.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government, yesterday, condemned the execution of the woman, describing her killing as pathetic, tragic and sad and pleaded with the authorities of Saudi Arabia to ensure that innocent people do not suffer in drug offenses trial in the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who spoke, added that no fewer than 20 Nigerians have been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia over drug related offences.
Briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, she described as disgraceful and embarrassing, the conduct of five Nigerians who were caught raiding Bureaux de Change in United Arab Emirates, UAE.
She advised travellers, especially those boarding Egypt and Ethiopian airlines to always be watchful with their luggage, noting that some airline operators in some cases conspire with drug barons to insert drugs in their bags without the travellers’ knowledge.
She saidwith the recent killing of the woman, the number of Nigerians executed for drug related offences in Saudi Arabia in the last three years had risen to eight, adding that 12 persons have already been sentenced for various jail terms in that country.
She said it had been established that there were cases of airlines working hand-in-hand with drug syndicates to put those drugs in the bags of unsuspecting pilgrims.
According to her, “we have had cases where truly these people executed for drug offences didn’t commit the offence. We have appealed to the Saudi authorities to make trials fair, open and ensure that justice is done. Even if you are going to die, you will know that you died for an offence you committed.
“So, while we appeal to Nigerians going to Saudi Arabia, we know it is tough, obey the laws of the land. Even kolanut is treated as a drug. So we will continue to appeal to the Saudi authorities to treat some of the cases with some form of leniency.
“Like I said, we have 20 of them in Saudi, this is the eighth to be executed and we are hopeful that maybe we will be able to save the others. So, it is pathetic and tragic but we will continue to appeal to Nigerians to obey the laws of the land where you are. However, we expect the trial to be fair, open and ensure that justice truly is done because somebody is sentenced to death.”
On the five Nigerians that were arrested for allegedly robbing a bureau de change in Sharjahof Dh2.3 million (over N200 million), she said such act was disgraceful and has brought shame to the country and families of the culprits.
She listed the five as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozo, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Toochukwu Leonard Alusi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.
“These five boys are a disgrace to this country and an embarrassment. So if UAE decides to be hard on Nigerians, then we will complain that they are hard on us. But we will continue to say that one bad apple should not spoil the whole bunch.”