The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismiss the report that the ministry ignored call for intervention over Mrs Kudirat Afolabi, a Nigerian woman who was executed over drug trafficking related offences in Saudi Arabia.
The ministry in a press statement by Sarah Sanda, its official spokesperson on Friday in Abuja, stated that the report in the media was false.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to a tendentious, mischievous and libelous article over the matter
“It alleged that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the minister were somehow responsible for the death of a Nigerian lady, Ms Afolabi, executed in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking, by not reacting immediately to letters addressed to the minister by the former Consul General, informing of the imminent execution of the lady in question,” she noted.
She said that the attention of the ministry was drawn to what she described as a tendentious, mischievous and libelous article alleging that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the minister were responsible for the death of Afolabi.
“This is preposterous and a complete falsehood. Clearly those behind the article who have deliberately distorted the facts have an agenda,” she said.
The spokesperson disclosed that the report which quoted extensively from a letter written by the said Consul General did not disclosed that the victim in question, Ms Afolabi was about to be executed.
She said that the letter rather states, “peddling of drugs into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…..is punishable with death penalty.
”Unfortunately, between 2016-2017 the underlisted Nigerians were arrested……for smuggling narcotic drugs concealed in their rectums.
“They have since been sentenced to death and the sentences had already been carried out on some of them.”
In her statement, the truth of the matter is that a letter was received from the Consul General on Feb 19 raising an alarm over the inhuman crimes being perpetrated at some Nigerian airport.“The letter said officials at those airports allegedly smuggled drugs to Saudi Arabia by checking in bags using the details of unsuspecting passengers.
“Immediate action was taken by the Minister by reaching out to the relevant Nigerian authorities,” she said.
According to her, the issue regarding Nigerians on death row in Saudi Arabia has been a challenge for many years.
“Over the last three years, the Minister and our Embassy in Saudi Arabia have relentlessly engaged the Saudi Government orally and in writing on the need to commute the death sentences of Nigerians on death row.
“Whipping up primordial sentiments by casting irresponsible aspersions does an injustice to the memory of the deceased and to her family and friends,” she disclosed
It will be recalled that the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia had disclosed that due process was followed before excecution on drug trafficking offenses
“The death sentence is only carried out in the Kingdom after all proofs and legal evidence have been exhausted regarding the accused, and the process goes through various legal stages until the allegations against the detained persons have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs was always in consultation with foreign embassies and consulates in the Kingdom and facilitated visits from nationals of detainees,” the statement read in part.
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