By John Shiklam
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has dismissed claims by the federal government that the fate of its leader, Shiekh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his time wife, Zeenat, are in the hands of the Kaduna State government.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami had Tuesday, said El-Zakzaky, who had been in detention since December 2015, was not released alongside Omoyele Sowore, pro-democracy activist, and Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA), because the Islamic leader is being prosecuted under state law.
“In determining the authority responsible for compliance with a court order with particular reference to bail, one must be guided by the law under which the accused person is charged and granted bail.
“On one hand, where the accused is charged under a state law, the order of the court granting bail for an accused person bail is targeted at the state authorities for compliance.
“On the other hand, where charges are framed under federal offences, the order granting bail is targeted at the federal authorities for compliance” Malami was quoted to have said.
The IMN leader is being prosecuted by the Kaduna State government for alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.
However, in a statement on Sunday in Kadun by Ibrahim Musa, the Islamic group said it cannot be deceived by the utterances of the justice minister.
The IMN maintained that the federal government cannot distance itself from the continuous detention of Zakzaky because his arrest and subsequent detention were by federal government agencies in the past four years.
The statement said: “We wish to categorically repudiate the audacious insinuations by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the fate of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, lies in the hands of the Kaduna State government and its governor, Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai.
“We are not deceived by any denial of complicity of General Buhari-led federal government.
“Firstly, the federal government’s criminal complicity in the heinous genocide in Zaria of December 2015 that led to the extra-judicial murder of over a thousand members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and the subsequent arrest and detention of the Sheikh is beyond doubt.
“This much was accepted and testified to by the General himself in an interview he granted a Qatari Television Channel while on a visit there as early as March 2016.”
According to Musa, “The Saudi Crown Prince’s self-confessions during a visit to the US that the brutal and inhuman suppression and the continuing illegal detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was part of his major foreign policy achievements further confirm the federal government’s involvement, as foreign policy issues are in the exclusive list of the federal government.
“Was that not why the Saudi King was the first to call General Buhari in December 2015, soon after the Zaria genocide, to congratulate him for what he called a victory against terrorism?
“Was that not also why General Buhari wanted to smuggle Nigeria into a Saudi-led military alliance at the time in the name of fighting terrorism?
“Was not the then Nigerian Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali accorded honour by the Saudi authorities on behalf of the federal government for the role the Nigerian military, an agent of the federal government, played?”
The statement maintained further: “The attacks, arrest and subsequent detention of Sheikh Zakzaky were by federal government agencies.
“For the past four years, the Department of State Security (DSS) took custody of the Sheikh and his wife from the Army.
“Nobody is granted access to see him except with the express permission of these federal agents.
“It even had to take the involvement of the AGF for anyone; even the Kaduna State established Judicial Commission of Inquiry at the time, to access Sheikh Zakzaky.
“When the federal high court declared the detention of the Sheikh and his spouse illegal and unconstitutional and ordered their immediate release from custody forthwith, the order was against the DSS, Nigeria Police Force and the AGF, all representing the federal government.”