John Shiklam in Kaduna
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiite, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were yesterday arraigned before the Kaduna State High Court sitting in Kaduna.
The Kaduna State Government had filed a fresh eight-count charge against the duo and two others for, among others things, allegedly abetting culpable homicide in the killing of one Corporal Dankaduna said to be in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff and for unlawful assembly.
Dankaduna was killed in December 2015 when the Shiite members clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were brought from Abuja, where they are being detained. They were said to have been brought to Kaduna in the wee hours of the morning for the case at about 8:30a.m.
The Shiite had refused being served with the charges some weeks earlier.
When the case was mentioned, the Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bayero Dari, announcing appearance for the prosecution.
The presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada, asked where those standing trial were and he was told that they were within the court premises and the judge asked that they be brought in.
El-Zakzaky who was wearing a neck collar and holding a walking stick for support, was led to the courtroom alongside his wife by operatives of the DSS.
Maxwell Kyon announced appearance for the defence on behalf of Femi Falana (SAN).
Bayero asked for more time to enable the prosecution serve the other two persons standing trial with the Sheikh.
Kyon made an oral application for bail and an unfettered access to their clients.
However, the court asked that the bail application be brought formally.
The court granted the defenceâ€™s request of unhindered access to El-Zakzaky, saying an adequate notice must be provided for at least three days.
The application of the prosecution to allow the Shiite leader and his wife to continue being in the custody of the DSS was granted by the court.
The case was adjourned to June 21, 2018 and the Sheikh and his wife were put in two separate SUVs and driven to Abuja.
There was very tight security around the court complex as heavily armed security personnel blocked all the entrances.
Journalists and other sympathisers were prevented by security agents from accessing the court complex.