Saudi Arabia Acquits Ibrahim Abubakar, Nigerian Arrested For Alleged Drug Trafficking In 2018
Saudi authorities has discharged and acquitted a Nigerian citizen, Ibrahim Abubakar, of drug trafficking charges against him.
Abubakar was arrested in December 2018 alongside Zainab Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano state on allegations of drug trafficking.
Although Abubakar was released in May 2019 after being tried and exonerated by three courts in Saudi Arabia, the Prosecutor-General ordered a re-trial of the case.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement by its spokeperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, on Friday stated that Abubakar was on Thursday discharged and acquitted of all charges following a Presidential directive carried out by the ministry, Attorney-General and Consulate-General in Jeddah, who were able to establish Abubakar’s innocence.
After diplomatic and legal consultation, Abubakar was discharged in February 2020 and finally acquitted of all charges on 27 th August, 2020.
The ministry said they have began processing travel documents that would facilitate Abubakar’s return back to Nigeria.
It also thanked the Saudi Government for cooperating with Nigeria to resolve the matter.
Zainab Aliyu was arrested on December 26, 2018 for allegedly traveling with a luggage containing tramadol, a banned substance.
She had travelled through the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) for Lesser Hajj with her mother, Maryam, and sister, Hajara.
A petition filed by Aliyu’s family later led the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to uncover a cartel at MAKIA which specialised in planting illicit drugs in travellers’ luggage.
The arrest of seven members of the cartel led to the discovery that the tramadol-bearing luggage was planted on Aliyu without her knowledge.
Abubakar, unrelated to Zainab Aliyu, also travelled on the same aircraft and was also arrested on the same day.
Saudi operates a very strict form of Islamic law and regularly dishes out death sentences for crimes such as homicide, rape, and armed robbery, facing backlash from many human rights organizations.