Nigeria: IMN Kicks As Court Orders DSS to Move El-Zakzaky, Wife to Kaduna Prison

Shi'a members demanding the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in Abuja (file photo).
6 December 2019

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Thursday condemned the order by the Kaduna High Court for the Directorate of State Services (DSS) to transfer their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, to Kaduna central prison

The order delivered by Justice Gideon Kurada was sequel to the application by Haruna Magashi, counsel to the IMN leader at the resumed hearing of the case in Kaduna, eight months after the last hearing of the case in April, 2019 before the IMN leader and wife went for an unsuccessful medical attention in India.

It would be recalled that the IMN leader and his wife were dragged to the court for alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace among other charges in another court and has been in custody of the DSS since 2015.

Justice Kurada had on April 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely to enable him serve on the panel of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, Magashi who stood in for the lead counsel to the IMN leader and his wife, Femi Falana (SAN), applied for his clients transfer to the Kaduna Prisons, now known as Correctional Center.

Magashi told newsmen shortly after the case was adjourned to February 6, 2020 for hearing, that the team of counsel to the IMN leader had always had difficulties whenever they want to see him at the DSS detention facility.

Magashi said the Counsel and Medical Doctors would have easy access to the IMN leader and his wife if transferred to the correctional facility in Kaduna and that would speed up the trial of his clients.

The order equally took the team of prosecution by the storm, when the prosecution counsel led by Dari Bayero appeared in court set to continue with the trial of the IMN leader and his wife.

Bayero who is the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) at the Kaduna State Ministry of Justice told newsmen that his team was ready for the trial but it was stalled.

He, however, said that the team would appear set for the trial on the adjourned date of Feb. 6, 2020.

Meanwhile, the IMN has condemned the transfer of its leader, El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat from the custody of the DSS to Kaduna central prison.

In a statement issued at last night, spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said the group is opposed to subjecting El-Zakzaky to further hardship under whatever guise.

He said El-Zakzaky and his wife should not be taken to anywhere other than a well equipped hospital which will addressed their health issues.

"We view any attempt to take Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to anywhere other than a hospital that is sufficiently equipped to handle their medical needs as punishing them further.

"The Kaduna prison is dilapidated and is without any medical facility. It was in that very prison that some survivors of the Zaria genocide of December 2015 died due to lack of medical attention.

"It can therefore never be a substitute for appropriately furnished medical facility that can take care of their urgent medical needs," Musa said.

The statement said: "The Islamic Movement in Nigeria condemns the wicked antics adopted today in court by the Kaduna state government through their prosecuting counsels aimed at humiliating our leader, Zakzaky, and subjecting him to further hardships.

"These mischievous moves by the El-Rufai government were equally meant to ridicule the formidable legal team of the Sheikh, who had consistently defeated their team in all cases thus far, including securing a landmark favourable judgment ordering the immediate release of the ailing Sheikh and his wife, both of whom the government is still detaining in contempt of a competent court order."

The statement further recalled that "the Kaduna state government had chosen a path of dishonour and shame in charging the Sheikh and his wife for aiding and abetting alleged offences they couldn't prove in the same court against hundreds of his supporters.

"They refused to diligently pursue the case, but rather use one flimsy excuse or the other to delay making any progress in the case because of their knowledge that they don't have a case against them.

"When the court granted them medical leave to go and seek urgent medical attention in India, the government had opposed, trying to rather put obstacles on their paths

"Then they attempted to assassinate the Sheikh, with the active connivance of NIA, in India. That too was botched with the Sheikh opting to rather return to Nigeria.

"Since that return, the Sheikh and his wife have been largely held incommunicado. No contact with their legal representatives was given and only a minimal contact with doctors, and even that only after the Sheikh's wife took seriously ill in detention.

"We therefore, take a very strong exception to the misinformation in court today that they were being allowed unfettered access to their legal representatives.

"To rub salt to injury, the prosecuting counsels had requested the court to order the immediate transfer of these very ill persons to the ill-equipped Kaduna Convict Prison rather than to a well-equipped medical facility...

"Their absence in court again today is even worrisome, because they were equally absent during the last court session because of what their counsel, Femi Falana, said at that time, was due to their deteriorating health conditions."

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