The Federal Government has condemned the execution of a Nigerian national, Kudirat Afolabi by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for drug-related offences.
The widow and mother of two was beheaded by the Saudi authorities for drug trafficking on Monday.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman, during a meeting with the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Adnan Bostaji in the Ministry on Thursday, kicked against the alleged inhumane treatment meted out to the deceased.
Suleiman said that while Nigeria respected the sovereignty of other countries and abhorred the violation of their domestic laws, the FG would not condone the inhumane treatment meted on the Nigerian national.
The Permanent Secretary in a statement stated that the government also frowned on the failure of the Saudi authorities to inform the Nigerian mission in Saudi Arabia about Afolabi’s arrest and prosecution, “only to invite the mission to take the last will of the deceased prior to her execution on April 1, 2019.”
It said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, therefore, wishes to assure Nigerians that it has engaged the Saudi authorities through their Ambassador in Nigeria, to ensure that the normal diplomatic practice of informing missions of the arrests of our nationals is adhered to, and that fair hearing is given to other Nigerians undergoing judicial processes in Saudi Arabia.”
But defending the execution, the Saudi envoy said it was “deservedly meted out on the Nigerian woman because she was found guilty of violating the Sharia law.”
Drug trafficking, he added, was not permitted in the Saudi Kingdom, noting, however, that Nigeria and his country enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations.
Speaking to newsmen after the closed-door meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Bostaji noted that the law against drug trafficking applied to everyone in the Kingdom irrespective of their nationality, stressing that even Saudi citizens were not exempted.
The ambassador said, “Saudi Arabia is following Sharia law and anyone who violates the law by bringing drugs into Saudi Arabia will be punished by the law.”
“This is because we want to save our society from drugs. So, if we don’t impose our Sharia law on these guilty people we may not save our society. The law is for all people in Saudi Arabia and not only for Saudi citizens,” he noted.
Bostaji insisted that no one could claim ignorance of the law as all visitors to the Kingdom were made to sign an undertaking not to bring drugs to the country before obtaining a Saudi visa.
He expressed dismay over the failure of visitors to obey the law, saying that despite the strict penalties, people brought hard drugs to his country.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Isah Dodo, lamented the “notoriety of Nigerians and nationals of other countries in bringing drugs to Saudi,” stressing that the menace had been going on for long.
He pointed out that the law against drugs was clear, adding that anyone who violated it would be executed “and nobody can stop the Saudi Government.”
Dodo continued, “So all we can tell our people is to stop taking drugs to Saudi Arabia or to other countries where the punishment is execution. Nigerians have seen many people executed in Saudi Arabia and this is sufficient to serve as a deterrent to them but they have remained adamant and continued to commit this crime.”