A fresh appeal has been issued for the immediate release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky by the renown human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN in a letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The learned man, who also heads the legal team in defence of the Sheikh and the Islamic Movement, decried the continued incarceration of the Sheikh and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibraheem Zakzaky in spite of a subsisting valid Federal High Court judgement ordering their immediate release since December 2, 2016.
Falana said the blatant refusal to comply with that judgement gives the “dangerous impression that the federal government does not operate under the rule of law.” According to him, the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court had ordered the release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Zakzaky from the “illegal custody of the State Security Service,” since December 2nd of 2016.
He cited the deteriorating health status of the duo and urged the President to “terminate forthwith the physical and mental agony that has been inflicted on our clients by releasing them from illegal custody and allowing them to travel abroad for urgent medical attention.”
This is not the first time that the lawyer is writing letters to the president seeking to effect the release of the Sheikh. All previous calls by the lawyer and indeed all people of conscience globally have fallen on deaf ears thus far. Neither the Sheikh nor his wife have been charged to court for any offence for the nearly two years of their detention.
Only last night, the Presidential Investigation Panel set up by the Presidency to review cases of human rights abuses by the military showed gross incompetence in taking up the petition sent to it by the Sheikh seeking justice for the brutal attack of his residence and properties leading to the death of over a thousand innocent civilians including three of his sons and sister, who were killed right before his eyes, burnt and dumped in mass graves. The panel waited endlessly for “permission” to take his testimony, and even then had to comply with orders from above to take the testimony in camera, a process the Sheikh absolutely rejected. That prompted the IMN to withdraw participation earlier today from the panel for what they describe as the panel’s credibility crisis.
It has now become abundantly clear that the government of President Muhammad Buhari does not have the ability and/or willingness to dispense justice in the matter. It is now left for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to move from the stage of preliminary investigation of the horrendous abuses by the Buhari-led government to prosecution.