Zainab Aliyu’s mother recounts daughter’s journey to trouble

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*Buhari, Zainab

Hajiya Maryam Habib Aliyu, mother of the Nigerian student, Miss Zainab Aliyu who was let off the hook by the Saudi authorities for alleged drug trafficking has recounted how the daughter’s journey to trouble began.

It was gathered that Zainab left Kano aboard Ethiopian Airline for a lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia on December 24, 2018.

She was accompanied by her mother, Maryam and sister Hajara Habib Aliyu.

They had a stop-over in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia December 25 before they proceeded and arrived in Jeddah on December 26.

Daily Trust quotes the mother in an interview as saying that they were conveyed from Jeddah to Madinah in buses and they arrived around 11:30am and went straight to the hotel where their agent booked for them.

“But we did not stay in that particular hotel. We only went there to inform our agents that we are not staying there and the hotel we intended to stay in case they may want to look for us,” she said.

She said after checking into their hotel, they went straight to the Prophet’s mosque and observed Magrib prayer.

“We wanted to wait until after Isha prayer, but Zainab and Hajara insisted that we should return to our hotel to have some rest. So we left the mosque to the hotel.

“On our return to the hotel, we ate our dinner and stayed for some minutes before I retired to bed and left Zainab and Hajara watching TV in the sitting room. After sometime, they also joined me in the bedroom. However, the next thing I heard was someone at the door. And when I woke up and opened the door, I saw some Arabs and two black men standing.

“They asked us some few questions related to our luggage. They asked whether we have left some luggage at the Jeddah airport and I told them we have not left any luggage. I showed all our luggage to them. They demanded to search our luggage and we allowed them because we believed we did not carry anything incriminating in our luggage.

“After searching our luggage, they also ransacked the house thinking that they get something incriminating but Alhamdulillah they did not find anything of such nature. After the search, they said they were going with Zainab for questioning because the bag they found with drugs was bearing her name.

“At the first instance, I resisted but the two black men who were fluent in Hausa language convinced me that nothing will happen to her and that the Arab people are officials of Saudi Arabian drug agency. I allowed them to go with her believing they will return her to me after questioning.”

She said since the security agents went with Zainab, the family did not hear anything from her until the next day after Maryam called the number of one of the black men who accompanied the Arabs.

The man assured her that nothing bad would happen to her and promised to find out from the security agents.

“After some minutes, he called back and informed me that the security men could not question Zainab the day she was taken. He said they will allow her to pick her calls and that I should call her line. I obliged and she answered immediately, she confirmed to me that they were on their way to Jeddah.

“We did not hear from Zainab until the next day the December 27, when a lady called my line and told me that Zainab wanted to speak with me but I should buy her 30 Saudi riyals worth of credit with which I will speak with my daughter. That was how Zainab told me that she was in the prison over alleged drug trafficking,” said the mother.

She said Zainab’s father also immediately reported the matter to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Federal Airport Authority of Nigerian (FAAN), Nigerian Embassy and other relevant authorities.

“So, to cut it short, this is how my daughter Zainab was arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities over alleged drug trafficking. I thank Allah who spared my life to witness this historic day in my life.

“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari and all those that have contributed to the release of my innocent daughter. My appeal to the government is to ensure that this kind of thing did not happen to others in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have reacted to the news of Zainab’s release. Here are some of the reactions:

“When I hear that the federal government is involved in a case like that of Zainab, I find myself really praying that they take it seriously like it was a matter of life and death. Thank God Zainab was taken seriously,” wrote a twitter user.

“I celebrate the @MBuhari government for securing Zainab Aliyu’s release in record-breaking time. President Buhari is to be commended. Now, I urge the President to apply the same sense of urgency that he showed for Zainab towards Leah Sharibu and make #FreeLeahSharibu a reality,” said another user.

When I hear that the federal government is involved in a case like that of Zainab, I find myself really praying that they take it seriously like it was a matter of life and death. Thank God Zainab was taken [email protected] #ZainabIsInnocent

Uba Sani @ubasanius

I rejoice with the family of Zainab Aliyu who has been released by the Saudi authorities who held her over an alleged drug trafficking.

I must thank President Buhari for his prompt response in ensuring the release of Zainab. I must also thank Nigerians for all their efforts.

Ayo @miss_ayomide

Now that Zainab has been released and saved from death. The next urgent and logical step is to fish out the animals at the airport who planted drugs in a bag and labelled it with her name. Those criminals should be arrested, jailed and made to suffer the full wrath of the law.

KADAFI @OfficialHudan

This Zainab is slim in all the pictures I see on the internet. But look at her 1st pic after release.  So even in detention, u fit enjoy for another country.

auwal alkhaseem @AuwalAlkhaseem

celebrate the @MBuhari government for securing Zainab Aliyu’s release in record breaking time. President Buhari is to be commended. Now, I urge the President to apply the same sense of urgency that he showed for Zainab towards Leah Sharibu and make #FreeLeahSharibu a reality

Black J🌚 @OfficialblackJ

A lot of innocent Nigerians die every single day in detention abroad just bcos of expired visas or minor cases not even drug related offense, go to Malaysia, China or India you will weep. The FG should be proactive for other innocent ones too the same way they were with Zainab.

@Rustychuks, “Thank God. Please don’t forget Leah.”

@tanko75338116, “It a good news am very happy to hear dis.”

@Obiee_O, “Thank God! Twitter Nigeria has a voice, and it’s a loud one.”

@Gfreaky1, “Big thanks to everyone involved in her release.”

@IfinwaJ, “Finally some good news. Thank you @MBuhari”.

@Chiadisly, “What about Leah? Cus she’s a Christian? @AsoRock.”‏

@Funkemyfun, “Thank God for her life. Only God knows how many innocent souls that would have lost their lives as a result of greed and wickedness of the Airport drug syndicates”.

@PEOPLESPOSSIBIL, “The alleged Yoruba woman was killed by the Saudi Authority few weeks ago.”

@xSterman, “Great great news! I hope all Nigerians in similar situations get such reprieve”.

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