The Nigerian government is stepping up its intervention in the case of Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian student arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia for alleged drug trafficking.
Zainab, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, was arrested after a banned drug, tramadol, was found in her bag on arrival in the south-western Asian country; however, she insisted it was planted in her luggage by unknown persons.
The student had travelled from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, in with her mother, Maryam Aliyu, and sister, Hajara Aliyu, but she was arrested over allegations that a bag bearing her name tag contained the unlawful substance.
She was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with an illegal dosage of Tramadol, but it has since been discovered she was a victim of a cartel that the airport in Kano that specialises in keeping hard drugs in travellers’ bags. Some members of the cartel are already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
With claims of Zainab’s innocence mounting of late, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had since given the directive for government intervention in the matter.
“President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive immediately the matter was brought to his attention about two weeks ago,” she said in a statement released in Abuja on Monday by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
“My office has been working with the AGF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to rescue the beleaguered student. We have been working with the AGF as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard.”
Dabiri-Erewa said the arrest of those who implicated Zainab has strengthened the legal case for her innocence.
Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, backed up Dbiri-Erewa’s claims, writing: “@MBuhari has since directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to take all the necessary action to ensure Zainab Aliyu’s release and her safe return to Nigeria, Hon. @AbikeDabiri, SSA to the President on Foreign Relations and Diaspora discloses.”