The Reformed Christian Association of Nigeria (rCAN) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari over the prompt release of Zainab Aliyu from Saudi Arabian detention.
Aliyu, a Nigerian student, was detained over illegal dosage of tramadol found in a bag labelled in her name at a Saudi airport last.
On being alerted, the president ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami to forthwith ensure her release.
Acting on the instructions of Mr Buhari, the AGF hired lawyers on Tuesday in the gulf country to compliment the Nigerian mission in the Kingdom as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Barely five hours later, Aliyu was set free and an utterly marveled rCAN can’t help but applaud president Buhari.
In a statement released on Wednesday by Interim President, Pastor Enoch Atumeyi, the group was particularly impressed by the president’s speedy response in a case that would have potentially led to the death penalty.
“ The Reformed Christian Association of Nigeria (rCAN) commends President Muhammadu Buhari over the reprieve he got for a Nigerian, Zainab Aliyu, who was being held and facing the prospect of execution in Saudi Arabia over drug-running charges,” the statement began.
“ The freedom procured for Zainab should be a platform from which to launch the primacy of the Nigerian life globally such that Nigerian anywhere in the world are reassured that they will never be left alone.
“ rCAN makes this charge in the confidence and knowledge that President Buhari secured Zainab’s release not because himself and the young woman are both Muslims neither did the ease of with which the outcome was achieved has anything to do with Saudi Arabia being an Islamic country. The same result would have been gotten from any other country – Islamic, Christian, polytheist, or secular – so long as the government of such country recognizes the ongoing reforms that have set Nigeria on the path of becoming an axis of influence.
“ We appreciate Mr. President and his proactive efforts that delivered a positive intervention, which freed Zainab. Her experience is a wake-up call on the Federal Government to decisively go after the cartels and syndicates that place innocent Nigerians in arms way by sneaking illicit drugs into their luggage, particularly the cartel discovered to be operating at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport. “
The Christian group, however, stated that the work doesn’t end there for the Federal Government.
They opined that all hands must be on deck to ensure the release of other Nigerians languishing in various Saudi detentions.
“ We demand that the Federal Government take up the cases of other Nigerians currently languishing in Saudi jail over drug running charges for review.
“ Irrespective of what the government finds out, it should prevail on Saudi authorities to have these citizens repatriated to face judicial processes in Nigeria so that the can be acquitted if found innocent or convicted and punished if found guilty.
“ As an interim measure, our suggestion is for the authorities to carry out enlightenment campaign with an advisory to intending passengers on how to handle their luggage to prevent becoming unwilling drug couriers. Such exercise should be carried out nationwide.
The reformed CAN didn’t spare the whips for certain Christian groups, especially CAN, which in its usual gimmick leveraged on the release to launch the religious cards.
“ We are however appalled by the reaction of the Northern Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which attempted to muddle the issues by dragging in Leah Sharibu, the Chibok secondary school girl, and others who are in Boko Haram’s captivity.
“ CAN’s statement to this effect is a misplacement of priority and further confirmation that it has deviated from its founding objective of evangelism to the extent that it is no longer able to see an individual human being first as a creation of God before ascribing religion and other biases to them.
“ We advise the leadership of CAN to retrace their steps as they have continued to sow division among the otherwise self-tolerant population of the country, which does not augur well for Nigeria. The kind of statement they issued in the wake of Zainab’s release can only serve to worsen the damages that the association had done in the recent past and this is highly condemnable.
“ In the meantime, we congratulate Zainab and her family for getting a new lease of life after having faced certain execution.”
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