The federal government has said that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, also referred to as the Shiite Islamic sect, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is not being held in prison-like custody but is in “voluntary” confinement “in the company of his wife and children.
Senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known on Tuesday during a press conference at the State House.
He explained that government was worried that there could be a breakdown of law and order if the Islamic cleric was allowed to return home.
It would be recalled that Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the federal high court in Abuja, had in December 2016, ordered the federal government to release the detained Zakzaky within 45 days and pay him N25 million in damages.
Justice Kolawole also ordered FG to provide accommodation for the cleric in Zaria or any other location of his choice in Northern Nigeria.
However, the 45 days has since elapsed and Zakzaky has remained in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Responding to questions about the detained Islamic cleric, Shehu said: “Government has a responsibility to ensure his safety.
“He is not in a prison type of detention. He is in the company of his wife and children voluntarily.
“Government is being compassionate on this matter. There is an overall public good that government is looking at in this matter,” he said.
On why the government has also flouted court orders to release on bail the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who is standing corruption trial, the presidential spokesman said that there are additional charges against him for which he has not been granted bail.
Shehu added that security agencies were still conducting investigations on some allegations against the ex-NSA which has made his continued detention necessary.