3rd May, 2019






The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) two days ago compared Zaynab Aliyu who was released by the Saudi Arabia authorities to Leah Sharibu who is still in Boko Haram captivity. Zaynab was arrested in Saudi Arabia after illicit drugs were found in her luggage. CAN used the comparison to demand equal treatment of citizens in captivity by the Federal Government.

Commenting on this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has faulted CAN’s stand. The human rights organization made its opinion known in a press statement issued on Friday 3rd May, 2019 by its Founder and Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“CAN got it wrong”, MURIC insisted. “There is no basis for comparing the two. Firstly, Leah Sharibu is a completely innocent Nigerian citizen who was criminally abducted by terrorists while Zaynab Aliyu was, until recently, a drug suspect apprehended by the security agencies of another sovereign country acting under the laws of their land.

“Secondly, what is needed to set Leah free is totally different from what is required to secure Zaynab’s freedom. It is like comparing the case of a kidnapped person to that of another who is in police detention. You cannot compare civilized authority to the rule of hoodlums. The law was allowed to take its course in Zaynab’s case whereas an entirely different scenario is playing out in Leah’s matter because terrorists recognize no national or international law.

“It is therefore most uncharitable for CAN to ignore these facts. It would have been a different thing entirely if FG had intervened in Zaynab’s case even before the exposure of the drug-planting cartel at the Nigerian airport. Again, it would also have been criminal abdication of responsibility if FG had failed to intervene after the new evidence emerged.

“CAN’s question, ‘Are all Nigerians equal or some are more equal than others?’ is therefore uncalled for unless CAN can convince us that kidnappers who forcefully abduct innocent people are equal to policemen who detain suspects for what they believe is illegal or judges who send criminals to jail. CAN’s question is not semantics. It is mischief pure and simple. CAN should stop playing on the emotion of gullible Nigerians.

“CAN should at least appreciate FG’s worries and concerns about Leah Sharibu’s safety and its open and subterranean manouvres to liberate her. We have no doubt that the leadership of CAN is not unaware of the intricate issues involved plus a thousand and one raison d’etre why government cannot reveal everything it is doing to secure the innocent girl’s freedom.

“MURIC commends FG for promptly intervening in the case of Zaynab Aliyu. We also appreciate the efforts made so far to secure Leah Sharibu’s freedom. We urge FG to do more in this regard. Everyday spent by Leah in the terrorist’s den is another day in the diary of Nigeria’s tragedies.


“We call on FG to spread its dragnet to all airports within the country with the hope that the drug-planting cartel are likely to exist in other airports as well. Those caught should be dealt with decisively to serve as deterrent to others. In addition, the Zaynab Aliyu treatment should not be limited to Saudi Arabia. It should be extended to other countries, particularly Europe and Asia where many Nigerians are languishing in jail or awaiting execution. The innocent ones should be saved.   FG should also ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in all our airports in order to monitor the activities of criminals.


“As a parting shot, we advise CAN to always take the pain to objectively and analytically examine issues before making allegations. This latest insinuation is pregnant with malice, devoid of charity and loaded with bad faith”.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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