Panic over 23 Nigerians on death row in Saudi Arabia

Panic over 23 Nigerians on death row in Saudi Arabia

- Twenty-three Nigerians are on the death row in Saudi Arabia for drug-related offences and they may be beheaded anytime soon

- The 23 death row inmates could not be named for “diplomatic and sensitivity” reasons

- Already, a Nigerian woman, Kudirat Adeshola Afolabi was executed by the Saudi authorities about two weeks ago

Twenty-three Nigerians are on the death row in Saudi Arabia and they may be beheaded any time from now, The Nation reports.

Eleven others are also said to be serving various jail terms for drug trafficking in the kingdom, while another suspected trafficker is awaiting trial.

The 23 death row inmates could not be named for “diplomatic and sensitivity” reasons.

Unless President Muhammadu Buhari intervenes, the death toll could be higher, a source quoted in the report said.

Already, a Nigerian woman, Kudirat Adeshola Afolabi was executed by the Saudi authorities about two weeks ago.

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The late response of the ministry of foreign affairs to a memo from the Nigerian Consul-General, Amb. M. S. Yunusa, is believed to have contributed to the execution.

It was learnt that the ministry had been “diplomatically slow” in responding to issues connected with Nigerians.

The consul-general was said to have written twice to the minister of foreign affairs, Godffrey Onyeama in December 2018 and February 2019, raising the alarm over the plight of Nigerians in Saudi Arabia.

He said the nation should endeavour to use its diplomatic bond with Saudi Arabia to seek pardon for all Nigerians condemned to death and for those serving various jail terms.

But more worrisome to the consul-general is what he believe is the security lapse at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, which is being used for massive drug trafficking.

The envoy admitted that there is a drug syndicate at the airport, alleging that the syndicate in cahoots with greedy airline officials at MAKIA were checking in extra bags containing prohibited drugs.

He said members of the syndicate had been using particulars of innocent passengers and baggage tags to smuggle drugs leading to the arrest of Nigerians who had no links with drug trafficking.

“There are a number of Nigerians accused of drug trafficking incarcerated at various Saudi prisons but the mission was unable to undertake consular visits due to refusal by the Saudi authorities to grant permission for such visits despite repeated requests and

“Drug smuggling into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by Nigerians has reached an alarming proportion and all hands must be on deck to check this menace,” he wrote in one of the memos.

His memo drew the minister’s attention to “a frightening development that portends grave danger to passenger travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano.”

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Abike Dabiri, chairman of the National Diaspora Commission recently revealed that eight Nigerians have been executed by the Saudi Arabian government over drug-related offences.

Dabiri revealed this on Tuesday, April 2 at the State House while also speaking about the execution of a Nigerian woman in the same country for drug trafficking.

She lamented the execution of the Nigerian woman which took place on Monday, April 1, revealing also that 20 other Nigerians were on death row in Saudi Arabia awaiting execution over drug offence.

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