John Shiklam in Kaduna
Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has dismissed claims by the federal government that the fate of its leader, Shiekh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, are in the hands of Kaduna State Government.
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had Tuesday said El-Zakzaky, who had been in detention since December 2015, was not released alongside pro-democracy activist, Omoyele Sowore, and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, because the Islamic leader was 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 Kaduna State Government for alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace among other charges.
However, IMN, in a statement yesterday in Kaduna by Ibrahim Musa, said it could not be deceived by the utterances of the minister.
The IMN maintained that the federal government could not distance itself from the continuous detention of El-Zakzaky because his arrest and subsequent detention were by federal government agencies in the last four years.
The statement alleged: “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 El-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 Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
“Firstly, the federal government’s criminal complicity in the heinous genocide in Zaria of December 2015 that led to the extrajudicial 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.
“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 El-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 that not the reason 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 further alleged that “the attacks, arrest and subsequent detention of Sheikh El-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 hard to take the involvement of the AGF for anyone, even Kaduna State established Judicial Commission of Inquiry at the time, to access Sheikh El-Zakzaky.”
Musa also noted that “when a 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.”
He alleged: “Kaduna State Government was never a party in any of these matters. Who is the AGF now fooling that it is purely Kaduna State affair?
“It is not therefore possible, under any logical reasoning, to exonerate General Buhari and the junta he leads at the federal level from the continued contemptuous detention of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife.
“Even as the government mischievously concocted a case in Kaduna, three years after the illegal detention, accusing them of aiding and abetting homicide before a Kaduna State High Court, these charges have since been squashed by the same court when hundreds of those who stood trial, who the duo supposedly aided and abetted, had since been discharged and acquitted…
“Finally, we call on the Buhari regime to stop deceiving the public by trying to paint itself as a saint in a place its actions are glaringly worse…
“It should simply obey the court judgment, free the revered Sheikh and stop further false and fake cases with the deliberate intention of keeping him in detention.”