…Parents of detainees plead with FG to intervene

By Soni Daniel, Abuja

Hundreds of Nigerians arrested and detained by the Saudi Arabian authorities on suspicion of drug peddling are now rotting away in various prisons in the Middle East country with Nigeria apparently not aware of their fate.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that although many of the detainees were initially slated for execution by the Saudi authorities in accordance with the country’s penal code, many of them are, however, being kept in prisons spread across the country without any reference to whether they would be killed or released and when.

A close source to one of the victims, who was arrested and detained in Saudi Arabia in 2015 on suspicion of trafficking drugs to the country, said the family was worried about the fate of their son and breadwinner from Kwara State, having not known what had become of his situation.

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Among those currently being kept in jail in Saudi are  Amode Tunde, Idris Adepoju, Sulaimon Lekan, Tunde Ibrahim, Biola Ologunro, Akeem Lawal and Yisa Abideen,

Others are Yusuf Abeke and Malam Kawu.

One of the parents of the detainees said, “At first, our son was threatened with public execution for alleged drug offence but after the matter was examined by the Saudi authorities,   our son was referred for further investigation and later taken from death row and placed in prison in Riyadh since 2016,” a worried father of the suspect in Riyadh, narrated with tears to Sunday Vanguard in Abuja.

“We are made to understand that some countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan and others, whose nationals were also detained on suspicion of drug peddling, have since stepped in and got their natives freed from Saudi prisons and taken home.

“The governments of these countries spoke with the Saudi authorities about their nationals who were also being detained with Nigerian inmates, and they were released. Our fear is that without urgent intervention by the Nigerian government, these suspects, some of who are completely innocent, may end up in Saudi jail forever.

“We are, therefore, passionately pleading with the Nigerian government to show mercy with her citizens who are unduly being kept away in various prisons in Saudi Arabia by stepping in and getting justice for those who are simply being unjustly detained or those who might have completed their jail sentences.

“The point is that many of these Nigerian detainees who were arrested as early as 2014 and kept away on allegation of drug dealings, would have completed their jail terms by now even if they were duly tried, convicted and jailed by the authorities,” one of the victims’ parents told Sunday Vanguard.

“But to simply arrest Nigerian citizens on drug allegation and keep them indefinitely in jail without any word as to their fate, is simply unhelpful and apprehensive given the fact that some other countries have got their citizens out of the same system,” another Nigerian parent, whose son is in Jedda prison, lamented.


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