President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to swiftly intervene in the case of Zainab Aliyu, a student detained in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that the President gave the directive two weeks ago when the matter was brought to his attention.
Zainab, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, was arrested after a banned drug, tramadol, was found in her bag. She claimed it was planted in her luggage by unknown persons.
The student had travelled from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in company with her mother, Mrs. Maryam Aliyu, and sister, Hajara Aliyu, but she was arrested over allegations that a bag bearing her name tag contained the unlawful substance.
Zainab, who was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with an illegal dosage of Tramadol was later discovered to be a victim of a cartel that specialised in keeping hard drugs in travellers’ bags, some of whom were already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Dabiri-Erewa in a statement in Abuja on Monday by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, explained that her office has been working with the AGF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to rescue the beleaguered student.
The Presidential aide stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive immediately the matter was brought to his attention about two weeks ago.
“My office has been working with the AGF as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard.”
Dabiri-Erewa said that Zainab has not been put on trial, adding that with the arrest of those who implicated her, a strong legal case was being made to the Saudi authorities.
The father of the alleged drug courier, Habib Aliyu, had appealed to the Federal Government, the Saudi authorities and the international community as well as well-meaning individuals to intervene in her daughter’s case and save her from being executed unjustly.
Habibu had expressed outrage over the continued detention of his daughter despite the discovery that she was framed by some drug cartel.
He explained that the allegations of Zainab entering the country with Tramadol, was absolute falsehood “as recent events and arrests have confirmed her innocence.”
Reports suggest that it was later discovered that Zainab like some others, was a victim of a cartel that specialises in planting hard drugs and banned substances in travellers’ bags.