Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Tuesday said the Nigerian government made several pleas on behalf of Nigerians who were condemned to death in Saudi Arabia to no avail.
She said this against the background of a Nigerian woman executed by Saudi Arabia over drug-related matters on Monday.
Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement by her Media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Tuesday in Abuja, that the news of the execution of yet-to-be-identified woman was painful.
According to her, it is regrettable that in spite of wise counsel for Nigerians travelling to Saudi Arabia by relevant government agencies to obey the country’s laws, some Nigerians still go and foul the law.
“This particular execution is very worrisome, especially when over eight Nigerians have been killed in the past few years over the same issue in Saudi Arabia,” she said.
She said no fewer than 20 Nigerians are still on death row in Saudi Arabia and that many were in prisons serving various jail terms.
“Our major concern, however, is whether the trial was fair to the convicts as it was not open and some of them were said to be implicated without a defence counsel.
“We are not saying our citizens in Saudi Arabia should be committing crimes, but we want Saudi Arabia to temper justice with mercy especially on offences that carry capital punishment.
“We are appealing again to our citizens to avoid crime and criminality in Saudi Arabia and other countries and be good ambassadors to Nigeria anywhere they go,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry had said that four persons including a Nigerian woman were executed on Monday for drug trafficking, bringing to 53 the number of persons put to death for offences with capital punishment this year.
“Two Pakistani men, a Yemeni man and a Nigerian woman were executed in the holy city of Makkah”, the ministry said in a statement.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia carried out death sentences on 120 persons for dealing in illicit drugs and some other related offences.