Federal Government yesterday gave reasons why the detained leader of the Shi’ite Islamic sect, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, would not be released from detention.
It told the court that Zakzaky was on December 14, 2015, taken into protective custody by the Department of State Services, DSS, following an intelligence report that he was going to be attacked and killed.
The federal government, which made the disclosure while responding to a N2 billion fundamental rights enforcement suit the
detained Islamic leader filed through his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said it kept the applicant in detention to avoid the circumstance that made the Boko Haram sect to turn violent in 2009.
“It is common knowledge that it was after the extra-judicial killing of the former leader of the Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, in police custody, that the group which prior to that had operated quietly just
like the Islamic Movement of Nigeria members, metamorphosed into a full blown terrorist group plaguing the country and has killed thousands of people in various attacks.
“Up till this present time, despite the efforts of the Nigerian Army to quell the activities of this deadly group, the North-Eastern part of Nigeria has been rendered unsafe as terrifying activities of Boko Haram in that area which involves killing, kidnapping, bombing, etc, has turned the indigenes of these communities into displaced persons who now live in camps around the country in the most deplorable conditions.
“The first respondent believes that if the applicant, who is the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, one of the largest Islamic groups in the country, is allowed to be killed as revealed in the security report,
the country may be plunged into another Boko Haram crisis which was what necessitated the remand of the applicant in protective custody until it can be ascertained that he is no longer in such danger,” the government stated in a 13-paragraphed counter-affidavit dated June 9.
Besides, the federal government via the counter-affidavit deposed by one Ayodeji Ibitoye, an operative in the Legal Services Department of the DSS, told the court that in order to save the applicant’s life, he was evacuated to the medical facility of the service.
It said the applicant was being attended to by “best doctors around,” and that the treatment had gulped “millions of naira at the expense of the state.
“The applicant is in protective custody to shield him from residents of Zaria, particularly their neighbours in Gyallesu who have vowed to avenge the oppression and agony the applicant and his followers
subjected them to over the years.
“Members of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has come to see the applicant”, it added.
Meanwhile, Justice Gabriel Kolawole has fixed July 23 to hear the substantive suit.
Sued as respondents in the matter were the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the DSS and the Nigerian Police Force.
Specifically, the Shi’ite leader is begging the court to enforce his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to private and family life and private property.
The suit marked FHC/CS/128/2016 was predicated on sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 41 and 46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as on Articles 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12(1) of the African
Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, LFN, 2010.
The court is among other things prayed to declare that “the detention of the applicant at Abuja by the respondents since December 14, 2015, is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental rights to personal liberty as enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Falana is contending that the continued detention of his client without being charged before a competent court was in violation of his right to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Insisting that his client’s rights to health and association as enshrined in Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights was violated, Falana wants the court to declare that detention of the applicant “without access to his family and friends was not only illegal but in violation of his rights to freedom of association as enshrined in section 40 of the constitution.”
Likewise, he is praying the court for an “order directing the immediate and unconditional release of the applicant from the custody of the first and second respondents.
“…an order restraining the respondents from further violating the applicant’s fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”
As well as “an order compelling the respondents, jointly and severally to pay the applicant the sum of N2billion as general and aggravated damages for the illegal violation of his fundamental rights to personal liberty, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom
of movement an freedom of association.”
Nigerian Pilot recalls that Zakzaky’s arrest and detention followed a violent clash that occurred at Zaria in Kaduna State on December 14, 2015, between his followers and detachments of the Nigerian Army accompanying the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai.

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