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88 Nigerians waste away in Saudi Arabian prisons over drug offences

About 88 Nigerians are wasting away in Saudi Arabian prisons for alleged drugs and psychotropic-related offences.

In a document released by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Makkah Province Branch, dated June 28, 2018, and obtained by The Guardian, showed that the inmates, including females, are being detained in four prisons under Makkah region prisons alone.

According to the document, Jeddah general prisons have 39 Nigerians, Islahiyyah Jeddah prisons 28, Jeddah Female prisons 18 while Taif prisons housed three.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Consular-General to Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Mohammadu Sani Yunusa, who confirmed details of the document, told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that the consulate had formally received communication from the host government on the profile of Nigerians arrested and detained for drugs offences.

Yunusa, who regretted that many desperate Nigerians still engaged in the act despite all signs and warnings against the devastating consequences of smuggling and dealing with hard drugs in Saudi Arabia, however, revealed that the current figures were aside 16 Nigerians, including females, already convicted and sentenced to death under similar drugs and psychotropic offences last year.

He said: “Drug trafficking here in Saudi Arabia is a serious crime and when you are caught and found guilty of the provision of the laws, it is as good as dead.

“But the most important issue still is that Nigerians are in jail and awaiting trial for offences related to drug abuse, smuggling, dealing or using as the case may be which is prohibited here.”

Besides, the consular-general also lamented the high rate of human trafficking of Nigerians, especially females, who are mostly lured into domestic slavery in Saudi Arabia.

He said the consulate had received series of emergency calls from Nigerians who were being molested and dehumanised by their Saudi Arabian paid masters.

Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission (NAHCO) has confirmed the death of two pilgrims in Saudi Arabia after successfully completing the hajj rites.

One of them, a female pilgrim from Niger State, fell from a moving elevator in her hotel accommodation while another one from Kaduna State died after a brief illness at Saudi hospital.

NAHCO Commissioner in-charge of Health, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, who confirmed the sad incident told reporters, said medical personnel dispatched to rescue the situation confirmed her death.