Many months after the Nigerian Government directed its embassy in Riyadh to intervene and stop further execution of Nigerians on death row over suspected drug offences, the officials have not succeeded, leading to the killing of no fewer than six persons within six months.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari As at the time the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama issued the directive, there were 29 Nigerian drug suspects detained in various Saudi prisons, awaiting either further trial or outright execution which takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Apparently fearing for their lives, the suspects, who are drawn from various parts of Nigeria, in a Save-Our-Soul message made to President Muhammadu Buhari and made available to Saturday Vanguard, appealed to him to wade into their case as the father of all Nigerians and save their lives.
Part of the letter reads: “All we are pleading with our President and father, Muhammadu Buhari, is to get the Saudi government to transfer us to our fatherland to serve our jail terms and even die in our homeland instead of being slaughtered as lower animals in a foreign land.
“We are aware and are witnesses to the fact that other countries whose citizens were arrested and detained by the Saudi government on the same charges we are being charged with, have made strong cases for their natives and they have been saved from the hangman’s noose.
“Our dear president and father, we assure you that we will not run away but will serve the full length of our prison sentence if you hear our cry and cause our repatriation to our homeland to serve out our prison terms in Nigeria.
Onyeama “May the Almighty God help you to help us, Your Excellency,” the distressed Nigerian suspects, wrote. It will be recalled that in November last year, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama, had given an indication that the President Muhammad Buhari administration had directed that the Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh should get in touch with their host country and stop the execution of the detained Nigerians in the Middle East country.
Onyeama said, “We have made very strong intercessions with the government of those countries to review the cases and of course, not to execute those prisoners. But there is a limit, these are sovereign countries and they have processes and laws.
“As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, it has been ongoing, we have been intervening at various levels with the Saudi government to spare the lives of those citizens and a number of NGOs have been working with us in order to get those Nigerian citizens off the death row,” the minister said.
But as at the time of going to the press, 22 Nigerians were still being detained in Riyadh while six had been killed, the last two, executed last month. Here is the breakdown of those still in detention and those already executed:
Those awaiting execution:
1. AMODE SULAIMAN
2. IDRIS ADEPOJU
3. ABDULRIMI AJIBOLA
4. JIMOH LAWAL
5. TUNDE IBRAHEEM
6. HAFIS AMOSUN
7. ALIU MUHAMMED
8. LOLO BABATUNDE
9. ABDULRASAQ LAWAL
10. LOLO YEKININ
12. KAWU MUHAMMED
13. MADINAH YAHYA
14. AWAU MUHAMMED
15. KAFILAT OLAJIDE
17. ABDULRAMAN MUAZU
18. ABDULRAMAN DUROJAYE
19. ABUBAKAR USMAN
22. ISSA AND HIS GROUP
Those already executed:
1. YUSUF YEKINI AJIBOYE
2. MUHAMMED ABUBAKRI
3. IBRAHIM CEROMA
4. ADEBAYO ADENIYI
5. MUHAMMED ISSA
6. BIOLA OLOGUNRO
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