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Judge’s absence stalls judgment on El-Zakzaky’s suit




Absence of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday stalled judgment in a suit filed by Shiite leader Ibraheem El-zakzaky for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

An official of the court, who pleaded anonymity gave Dec. 2 as the new date for the judgment.

The official explained that the judgment was not delivered because the court did not sit.

“It is obvious that my lord is not in court at the moment. He has asked us to tell parties to return on Dec. 2 for the judgment,’’ the official said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls, however, that the court on its last sitting directed the parties to explore an out-of-court settlement.

Kolawale had held that the court would step in to deliver its judgment on the application if attempts on settlement by the parties failed.

While adopting his address on the motion, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had told court that the Federal Government was not prepared for amicable settlement.

Falana submitted that the continuous detention of his client by the Department of State Service was a clear violation of the constitutional rights of his client.

He, thereafter, prayed the court to order unconditional release of El-zakzaky from detention.

Falana, who said that his client was nursing severe injuries from multiple gun shots, argued that El-zakzaky was being held against all known laws.

But Counsel to the government, Mr Tijani Ghazali, urged court to discountenance Falana’s arguments.

Ghazali argued that El-zakzaky was being held in protective custody, due to unpleasant intelligence reports concerning the safety of the fiery cleric.

It was at that point that Kolawole advised parties in the suit to explore the possibility of resolving the matter through the alternative dispute resolution approach.

The judge, therefore, slated judgment to be delivered on Nov. 25, should the parties not agree on resolving their differences amicably.

The Shi’ite leader, who had been in detention since Dec. 14, 2015, applied for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty and dignity of human person.

He filed the suit to challenge his incarceration without trial.

NAN recalls that Zakzaky’s detention followed a violent clash between his followers and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria on Dec. 14, 2015.

Subsequently, the Kaduna State Government outlawed the activities of the Islamist movement after conducting a judicial inquiry.

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