Kaduna — The presiding judge of the Federal High Court 1, Kaduna, Justice Saleh Shuaibu, has directed that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) be served with hearing notice in a suit filed by the Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria against Kaduna State Government, challenging its proscription before the next adjourned date of May 16.
The government has also filled 18 fresh count charges against Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and two others.
Daily Trust recalls that the El-Rufai government had in October 2016 declared the Zakzaky group as an illegal society.
Our correspondent gathered that the IMN had filed the suit seeking to overturn its proscription by El-Rufai led government, joining seven others in the suit as respondents over what it called harassment of members of the group.
However, the suit filed by IMN, challenging its proscription by the Kaduna State Government and the harassment of its members by law enforcement officials which came up for hearing on Thursday was stalled following the non-service of hearing notice to the IGP.
Speaking to newsmen outside the court, Counsel to IMN, Barrister Alex Ajodo, said they intended filing a counter-affidavit.
"The matter for hearing today is between interlocutory applications which should have been heard first. It was for us to file further affidavit to counter the affidavit filed by the first to fifth respondents and the 6th and 8th respondents respectively," he said.
He said the case is based on their fundamental right to worship and association as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Kaduna State Government was represented in court by the state's Deputy Director Public Prosecution, Monday Bulus.
Meanwhile, in a fresh suit against Zakzaky dated April 18, the suit also listed 18 persons as witnesses to testify against the leader of IMN and others.
The suit which listed exhibits found in the possession of Shi'ites during its clash with men of the Nigerian Army in December 2015, as 40 pieces of catapults, 17 pieces of sticks, 70 pieces of knives, one piece of locally-made pistols, 21 pieces of arrows and 12 pieces of bows, said Zakzaky agreed with others members of the sect to carry out illegal act.
According to the suit, "That you, Mallam Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky, Mallama Zeenah Ibrahim, Yakub Yahaya Katsina and Sanusi Abdulkadir being leaders of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria on or about the 12th of December at Zaria agreed with other members of the sect to do an illegal act, to wit; armed with dangerous weapons such as pistols guns, dane guns, cutlasses, knives, catapults, axes, clubs and sticks blocked Sokoto road, Sabon Gari, Zaria, and other major roads within the environs and prevented the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff and the general public from gaining access to the roads and same act was done in pursuance of the said agreement and you thereby commit an offence punishable under section 59 of the penal code pf law of Kaduna state 2017," it read.
It will be recalled that in December 2015, followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky clashed with men of the Nigerian Army, when the sect members blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).