OrderPaperToday – A group known as Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) has criticized the handling of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh El-Zakzaky by state authorities.
PILL in a statement signed by its President, Abdul Mahmud on Monday, drew attention to the recent parade of El-Zakzaky before the media, describing the move as a “flattening of fundamental rights.”
According to the group, El-zakzaky was paraded like a “criminal” before the media, ostensibly to squash the rumors of his death in custody that made the rounds in the social media.
“What is obsequious in this flattening of fundamental rights is that it is happening in an era in which the current government, at the eve of its inauguration, a little over two years ago, promised to be an era in which rights, thoughts and deeds of all citizens would flourish like flowers.
“The flattening of rights should not be happening in a democracy, or in half-a-democracy, but it is happening, and the parade of Sheikh El-Zakzaky, whatever his keepers intended, merely achieved this objective: that the keepers of El-Zakzaky are bounty hunters intent on transgressing the rights of citizens taken as prized bounties.
“The actions of his keepers mock competent courts that have ordered his release, and it has become so clear that their actions can no longer be ignored by well-meaning Nigerians,” the statement said.
The league added that “whatever the Nigerian state intends to achieve with the detention without trial of Sheikh El-Zazaky, it should be reminded that a trifle parade before media eyes doesn’t serve as a relief to the grim story of assault on the liberty of a defenceless and helpless citizen.
“There is nothing positive in parading a man shackled by power, circumstances and conditions imposed on him by a tyrannical government.”
PILL therefore urged the government to respect the rights of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and release him, without conditions “from the clutches of its tyranny” or charge him to a court of competent jurisdiction if it has any case against him.
This piece first appeared in the OrderPaper By Damilola Zebulun Adeniran on January 15, 2018