The Nigerian Senate has resolved to pursue the prosecution of the cartel responsible for planting illicit drugs in the luggage of Zainab Aliyu and others at the Aminu Kano International Airport Kano.
The victims would have been executed for offense they did not commit in foreign lands if not for the intervention of the Nigerian government that ordered full-scale investigation into the matter.
This followed a motion sponsored by Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara) on the need to strengthen security at Nigerian airports, as the Senate on Tuesday resolved to ensure that the case was pursued to its logical conclusion.
This, it said, will serve as deterrent to others who were in the habit of putting the lives of innocent Nigerians on the line.
The lawmakers urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other security agencies to ensure that all personnel on duty be held accountable.
It also urged committee on aviation, when constituted, to ensure legislative compliance.
They mandated FAAN to ensure the installation and usage of effective close circuit television cameras and other security systems in all Nigerian airports for the purpose of monitoring the airport environments, for the avoidance of planting illicit drugs and other illegal activities.
They also resolved to compel the agency to acknowledge only accredited personnel on duty to be allowed in restricted areas of the airport.
Presenting the motion, Oloriegbe noted with great concern the report in a national daily on May 1, 2019 on how Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian citizen, was arrested by Saudi Drug Enforcement Agency on allegation of drug trafficking.
According to Oloriegbe, another online media also reported, quoting the Chief Press Secretary of the then Zamfara State governor on June 18, 2019, the effort of the Governor to meet with the officials of Saudi Arabian government to discuss ways towards the release of another victim – Zamfara-born Alaramma Ibrahim, who was in detention for almost two years over alleged drug trafficking whose arrest also followed a frame-up initiated from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport Kano.
He said from findings they were further informed that there were several other incidents of arrests of innocent Nigerians by the Saudi government and other countries on similar allegations of drug trafficking.
He expressed that the innocent citizens were just victims of circumstances as many of the distasteful situations would have been curtailed but for security lapses at the Nigerian airports infiltrated by drug syndicates with easy access to planting illicit drugs on innocent travellers or their belongings without their knowledge.
He said Zainab Aliyu and two other Nigerians were saved from execution by the Saudi government due to the prompt intervention of the Nigerian government after investigations proved they had no knowledge of the drugs in their luggage.
He accused some of the staff of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Immigration Service and other Aviation Security Personnel for dereliction of duties and making the airports unsafe.
He said if not checked some of the actions of some of the airport personnel might continue to attract international embarrassment, loss of opportunities by our citizens, especially outside the shores of Nigeria.
The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, in his remark insisted that the National Assembly would not allow the case to be swept under the carpet.