Ibrahim Ibrahim, a Nigerian citizen from Zamfara State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save his life, following his detention Saudi Arabia for three years over mistaken case of drug trafficking.
On April 30 last year, Saudi authorities released Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian student falsely accused of drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia, after the intervention of the Nigerian government.
Ms Aliyu was arrested on December 26, 2018, a day after her arrival in Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj, following discovery of a luggage filled with drugs in her name.
Nigerian authorities later arrested and prosecuted the actual traffickers who tagged the contentious luggage in her name at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered the case of Mr Ibrahim is also similar to Ms Aliyu’s as he was arrested immediately after arriving Madina over alleged possession of a bag suspected to contain illicit drugs.
Court documents sighted by this newspaper indicate that Mr Ibrahim was accused by Saudi authorities of trafficking of 1,497 red capsules carrying an (R) sign suspected to be Tramadol trafficked via Ethiopian Air Flight 402.
Upon the discovery of the bag in question, the documents stated that the Public Investigation and Prosecution Bureau, Jeddah, in conjunction with the Anti-drug Agency, also in Jeddah, then charged Mr Ibrahim for drug trafficking, an offence punishable by death.
“The forensic test number 1703203, which was carried out on the reddish substance ascertained that there are six units tagged on one side each with the (R) sign while the other side had 225 written on it, and that they were the contraband tramadol capsules under the grade (H) of attached list of locally controlled drugs as spelt out in the Anti-drug and Narcotics Law,” the charge sheet reads in part.
The documents indicated that after the investigation, Mr Ibrahim was arraigned at the Jeddah Criminal Court.
The prosecutor prayed to the court to sentence the accused to death for committing an offence that contravened Section 1 of Act 37 of anti-drugs law of the country.
As the hearing continued, Mr Ibrahim, who pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him, was eventually acquitted, following the failure of the Prosecutor General to convince the court.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, the authorities therefore appealed the judgement of the lower court.
At the appellate court, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered, Mr Ibrahim the case was also dismissed over prosecution’s failure to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
But Mr Ibrahim’s hope of gaining freedom was dashed after his acquittal by the court of appeal on January 24, 2019.
Despite the acquittal, the authorities seized his travel documents, situation that forced him to remain in Saudi Arabia for three years.
“Though I was acquitted, the authorities are still holding my travel documents and they denied me return to my country.
“I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to help me intervene and bring an end to my travails. I also call on my governor, Matawalle for his intervention. I call on my fellow Nigerians to help me with prayers,” Mr Ibrahim appealed.
It was gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami to handle the case of Mr Ibrahim.
Mr Buhari gave the directive after Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara State, prevailed on him to see to the release of Mr Ibrahim, an indigene of Zamfara State.
“Governor Matawalle yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and appealed on behalf of Ibrahim Ibrahim whose judgement was scheduled for next week, on charges of drug trafficking,” a statement by the governor’s spokesman, Zailani Bappa, said.
“Ibrahim, an Islamic cleric, was wrongly arrested in Saudi Arabia and arraigned before the court but could not sufficiently prove his case due to lack of a lawyer. He was earlier cleared by two lower courts in Jeddah for lack of evidence on the part of the prosecution.
“However, the prosecution appealed against him in Makkah where he was expected to have a lawyer or risk execution judgement.
“To this end, President Muhammadu Buhari has already directed the Minister of of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to handle the matter appropriately in order to save the innocent life of Ibrahim Ibrahim.”
Diplomatic sources in Saudi Arabia said with the foregoing intervention, it is expected that Mr Ibrahim may be released soon.