FG Appeals Judgment On Shiite Leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

The federal government has appealed the judgement of the Abuja Federal High Court which ordered it to release the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The appeal was filed by the Department of State Services, DSS, the Nigeria Police force and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, while Zakzaky was named as the respondent.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole had on December 2, 2016 ruled that the continued detention of Zakzaky and his wife by the DSS was illegal and unlawful.

He ordered their immediate release and asked the federal government to provide an accommodation for him in Kaduna or any place of his choice in Northern Nigeria, as well as pay him the sum of N50 million in damages for violating his fundamental human rights.

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But in the appeal, the federal government argued that the court’s verdict was against the weight of evidence and the law.

The appellants said that Justice Kolawole erred when he ordered the FG to provide a suitable accommodation and security for Zakzaky and his wife.

They also challenged the jurisdiction of the Abuja court to entertain the case, given that the incident which led to the arrest of the Muslim cleric occurred in Kaduna.

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The appellants also posit that the judge erred in law when he lumped two cases together in his judgment stating that he should have delivered two separate judgments.

Recall that Zakzaky, through his counsel, Femi Falana, had sued the federal government for violation of his fundamental human rights. In the suit Zakzaky asked the court to order a N2 billion damages against the government.

The Muslim cleric has remained in custody without trial since the December 15, 2015 clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

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The Clash led to the killing of over 300 IMN members who were allegedly buried in mass graves by the soldiers.

An investigative Panel set up by the Kaduna State government found the Army guilty of using too much force on the protesting Shiite Muslims. But it also blamed El-Zakzaky particularly for not calling his followers to order.

Many international bodies including Amnesty International and the European Union have all urged the Nigerian government to demonstrate respect for the rule of law and release the cleric.