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Continuous detention of El-Zakzaky, wife after judgment, invitation to anarchy— Shiites

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• FG Paying Lip Service To Rule Of Law

Four years after a Federal High Court ordered the release of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenab, members of the Islamic group have expressed surprise that the Federal Government is only paying lip service to the enforcement of rule of law in Nigeria.

The Chairman of IMN Resource Forum, Prof. Abdullahi Danladi, said in Kaduna that yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the expiration of the 45-day caveat, when the Federal Government was ordered to release Sheikh Zakzaky in a historic judgment delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Federal High Court.

Danladi explained that the judgment was the enforcement of Zakzaky and his wife’s fundamental rights. He said: “Failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to obey that judgment four years on, and counting, makes it one of the worst violations of the rule of law, and a monumental abuse of the couple’s rights.

“The learned Jurist had ruled that the continued detention of the duo violates their rights under Section 35 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution and the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Consequently, he ordered the release of the ailing Sheikh and his wife within 45 days of judgment, and that both must be provided with a suitable accommodation and security. The court further ordered the payment of N50m by the Federal Government to both.”

Danladi recalled that while delivering the judgment, Justice Kolawole held that continued detention of El-Zakzaky and his wife by state instrumentality was an arbitrary act. 

He continued: “The judge warned the government in that judgment that holding the Sheikh for so long amounted to great danger, and that if the applicant dies in custody, which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths… 

“…But instead of releasing them, the Federal Government opted to file bogus charges against the Sheikh and his wife through Kaduna State government. Failure to obey court orders by the government is an open invitation to anarchy, as observed by a professor of law, and this is at variance with the democratic principles it claims to be running.”

Danladi said the group would continue to fight for the release of the Sheikh and his wife, irrespective of government’s use of brutal force against them. 

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