Zainab Aliyu’s ordeals resonate calls for improved measures to tackling drug trafficking at Nigerian airports

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After putting so much hard work into his spare parts business at ASPAMDA market, Lagos, Chukwuemeka (not real name) still fed from hand to mouth. The business environment seemed rather hostile for him to break even. Rather than making gains, he discovered he started eating into his capital, then he thought it was time to seek other legitimate means to earn a decent living.

So, it was with excitement and optimism that he received the ‘good’ news that his uncle would love to sponsor him to Indonesia to hustle and earn something reasonable. Being an orphan, he thought this was God’s way of compensating him for his losses.

He had set out for the journey with his luggage, including one given to him by his uncle to help deliver to a friend at Indonesia. Getting to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) with his uncle to bid him farewell, he was met by security agents and at every point his uncle would tip officials with a sum of N1,000 to N3,000, just to ensure his nephew isn’t searched.

At some point, Chukwuemaka had to ask his uncle why he didn’t just allow the security officials search him, rather than waste money at multiple security points, just to avoid search. His uncle grinned, tapped his shoulders and said, ‘Son, you won’t understand. In any case, I won’t want to stress you at all. It could be tiring having to bring out everything inside your bag just for search purpose.’

After getting through the Lagos airport, Chukwuemeka arrived Indonesia airport. While waiting in the queue to pass through the immigration, his name was called out at the terminal for questioning and he innocently rushed out.

This was where his trouble began. The bag his uncle gave him had … Read More...

How FG saved Zainab Aliyu, Ibrahim Abubakar from death in Saudi Arabia

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The Federal Government has disclosed the intense diplomatic efforts that it initiated to rescue two Nigerians, Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim Abubakar, who were arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allegedly on drug-related offense punishable by death in the Kingdom.
Zainab was released on Tuesday while Ibrahim Abubakar was released on Wednesday to the Nigerian authorities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after enormous efforts by the Federal Government.
A statement issued on Thursday by the Acting Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign  Affairs, Friday Akpan, recalled that Miss Zainab Habibu Aliyu was arrested by Saudi Security Officials on Wednesday 26th December 2018 in a Hotel in Medina. This was following the discovery at the Airport of a bag containing illicit drugs purportedly bearing a tag with her name, while Ibrahim Abubakar, not related to Zainab but travelling on the same aircraft, was also arrested on the same day as Zainab.
“On receipt of the information on the arrest of the two (2) Nigerians, the Nigerian Consulate in Jeddah intervened and requested for full investigation to ascertain the innocence of Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim Abubakar. Investigations conducted by the Airport Authorities and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Kano discovered a drug cartel at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano that specializes in planting illicit drugs on innocent travellers without their knowledge.
“It was also discovered that the bag tagged in Zainab’s name was planted by the cartel without her knowledge.
“Following the arrest of members of the cartel, the Federal Government is currently prosecuting the suspects in the Federal High Court, Kano. The outcome of the investigation and subsequent trial of the suspects confirmed the innocence of the two Nigerians,”  the statement said.
 The  Foreign Ministry noted that the Consulate General of