Saudi Arabia stands by decision to kill Nigerian woman for drug trafficking

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja has stood by the decision of the Arab state to execute a Nigerian woman, Kudirat Afolabi, after she was convicted for drug trafficking.

The widowed mother of two was executed after she was found guilty of drug trafficking (image used for illustrative purpose) [Pakistan Today]

Afolabi was executed on Monday, April 1, 2019 alongside two Pakistani men and one Yemeni man, bringing the total number of people killed by the state this year to 53.

In reaction to the execution, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, expressed concern that some of the trials of Nigerians in Saudi Arabia are not open and fair.

However, in a statement released on Friday, April 5, the Saudi embassy said all legal and judicial procedures were followed before the death sentence was carried out on Afolabi, a widowed mother of two.

"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," the statement read.

Dabiri-Erewa had urged the Saudi Arabian government earlier this week to temper justice with mercy especially on offences that carry capital punishment, but in its statement, the Kingdom reiterated its commitment to applying the law and enforcing penalties in matters of drug trafficking in its determination to combat the menace and protect its citizens.

Dabiri-Erewa disclosed on Friday that another Nigerian, Wahid Somade, was arrested at Jeddah airport with about 1,138g of cocaine on Thursday, April 4.

"We keep appealing to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure their trial is fair," the presidential adviser said on Friday.

She had revealed earlier that eight Nigerians have been killed in the past few years after drug trafficking convictions in Saudi Arabia and no fewer than 20 Nigerians are currently on death row in the ultra-conservative state.

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