Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, in a letter dated November 7, 2017 and addressed to the President, has appealed to President Buhari to order the immediate release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El Zakzaky.
Falana recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja had in December 2016 ordered the release of El-Zakzaky’s and his wife from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
According to him, the court also awarded them reparation of N50million and directed the Federal Government to provide a temporary accommodation for them, since it was established that the Nigerian Army and the Kaduna state government had burnt and demolished their private residence located at Zaria in Kaduna state.
He also reminded President Buhari of his new year’s message in which he urged members of the Shia community to embrace peace and obey the laws of the land.
The letter partly reads, “At the same time Your Excellency directed all law enforcement agencies in the country to treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.”
“But in utter contempt of the aforesaid orders of the Federal High Court and in total disregard of Your Excellency’s directive, the State Security Service has refused to release the couple from illegal custody. Thus, the dangerous impression has been created by the State Security Service that the federal government does not operate under the Rule of Law.”
“Although Sheik Elzakzaky lost his left eye while he is on the verge of losing the right eye sequel to the brutal treatment meted out to him by the armed soldiers, the SSS has denied him foreign medical treatment recommended by the local specialists who had attended to him.
“Even the alternative arrangement put in place by the family of the Sheik to bring eye specialists from abroad to treat him in custody has equally been rejected without any legal justification,” .
“It may interest Your Excellency to know that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry which was set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the violent attack unleashed on the Shiites in December 2015 did not recommend the indefinite incarceration or prosecution of Sheik Elzakzaky and his wife for any criminal offence whatsoever.
“Therefore, they should be allowed to regain their fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”