SEEING IS BELIEVING, reflected the overwhelming mood of joy, when families of Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim Abubakar received them, at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, when they arrived the country, Monday, from Saudi Arabia, after four months detention. Nigerian government delegation was also present to experience the happy mood.
Both were accused of trafficking tramadol — a strong pain killer — into Saudi Arabia, an offence by Saudi’s law, that attract death penalty. They would have been on “Death Row”, but for the intervention of Nigerian government and public outcry that the two were framed up. Illegal drug business in Nigeria would have taken its toll on these innocent Nigerians.
Nigeria’s drug law enforcement agency — National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria, NDLEA, recently, cracked down on criminal gang operating at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, by planting illicit drugs in traveller’s luggage.
Trafficking in drugs is an illegitimate high-profit business, as well as, high-risk thriving business in the country. Those who succeed, delight themselves in illegitimate profit. While those who do not succeed, pay the supreme price.
The new dimension is that innocent persons are being framed up by agents of death. Death was the fate of a Nigerian woman, beheaded, recently, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, along with two Pakistani men and a Yemeni man, for drug trafficking.
Going by the experiences of Zainab Aliyu and Ibrahim, Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Information Technology and Development, Mallam Isah Garba, addressing journalist in Kano, Monday, called on operatives of National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to beef up security at the nation’s airports to check activities of drug traffickers.
Garba said Zainab Aliyu’s experience had shown that NDLEA needed to double its efforts to ensure drug barons and traffickers were beaten to their game at airports across the country. He urged security agency to apprehend and prosecute the real owners of the luggage that put the female student in trouble in Saudi Arabia.
Garba said “there will be many more innocent Nigerians in Saudi detention camp”, from Zainab’s experience. NDLEA should intensify search and surveillance of passengers’ luggage, as well as surrounding environment during boarding, to ensure no luggage was tempered with after the real owner had checked in, he added.
Could Nigeria be said to be in dilemma in dealing with drug trafficking and related offences? Giving the latest development that criminal elements are operating at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, planting illicit drugs in traveller’s luggage? Perhaps that is not the question. Or, is the nation not tackling the real issues related to combating the menace?