15 Nigerian sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia •List of the convicts •14 send SOS from prison

Fourteen Nigerians have already been moved to a jail in Medina apparently in preparation for the hangman’s noose. That has sent shivers down their spines, forcing them to dispatch a Save-Our-Souls message to President Muhammadu Buhari to do all within his powers to save them from being slaughtered like cows.

They were 15 in number but one of them was executed last year as a common criminal. The manner in which Yusuf Yakubu Ajiboye from Kwara State was arrested, hurriedly tried and subsequently killed, made them to entertain fear for their lives and came to the conclusion that the long knife was indeed awaiting them.

“We know they are preparing to kill us but before we die, we are pleading with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to look into the charges preferred against us and see if indeed, we have been given fair hearing for the offences they claim we committed, and whether the Saudi authorities have treated us well under the law,” one of the suspects said in a leaked document made available to Saturday Vanguard from Riyadh.

“They claim that we peddled drugs and committed other drug-related offences, which according to them carry death penalty but we want Nigeria to intervene and give us another chance to live,” the suspect pleaded on behalf of the rest being detained in preparation for their execution in the Middle East country.

Among the Nigerians in the Medina Prison awaiting execution are: Lolo Babatunde, Biola Lawal, Hafis Amosu, Jimoh Ishola, Tunde Ibrahim, Abdurimi Aweda, Adam Abubakar, Amode Tunde, Adewumi Adepoju, Saka Riyau, Aliu Muhammed, Abdul Raman, Yekini Yahaya and two other women.

Many other Nigerians arrested for drug-related offences have also been detained at Jedda, Mecca and Riyadh prisons in Saudi Arabia, awaiting execution.

Sources close to the suspects told Saturday Vanguard that there are no fewer than 25 Nigerian drug suspects being detained in several prisons in Saudi Arabia with the ultimate aim of executing them since the offence carried the maximum death penalty in that country. But their fear has heightened since they claimed that they contacted the Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh and pleaded with them to take action to at least free them from that country’s jail and repatriate them to Abuja to either live or die and be buried on their father land, but regretted that the appeal fell on deaf ears.

“Our government should act fast to save our lives from the hangman’s noose because delay is dangerous in this case,” one of the suspects said.

FG reacts

The Nigerian Government confirmed yesterday, that it was aware of the detained Nigerians in Saudi Arabia in connection with drug-related offences and had already waded into the matter. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said necessary steps were being taken to engage with the Saudi authorities on the fate of the detained Nigerian drug suspects.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs has directed the Nigerian Mission in Riyadh to look into the detained suspects’ case urgently,” the Spokesman for the Ministry, Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, said in response to enquiry on the matter. “The Nigerian Government will continue to engage the Saudi authorities in negotiations so that they will not be executed,” the Foreign Ministry assured.

•Adapted from a Saturday Vanguard report.

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