Amnesty International (AI) has advised the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to seek justice for Ibrahim Zakzaky, its leader, and members held in detention by the Kaduna state government, outside the Nigerian judiciary.
Osai Ojigho, AI country director, who spoke inan interview on The Osasu Show with Osasu Igbinedion, asked the group not to relent until it exhausts all options available to it to seek redress.
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Ojigho also asked the group to look for help from other organisations other than “faith-based” ones.
“I think they should not relent in their constant agitation for justice in this matter. In recent times, they have taken protests, some in Abuja. Some cases have also been tried to be stopped. But everyone has the right to protest if they feel their rights are being violated,” Ojigho said.
“But they can go beyond that and can now begin to explore beyond the shores of Nigeria. There is the African Commission on People’s and Human Rights, there is the ECOWAS court of justice which is also situated here in Abuja.
“Can the regional mechanisms here in Africa give them an alternative hearing and can the Nigerian state be called to order by these institutions in order to ensure that the rights of El-Zakzaky and his followers who have been illegally and unconstitutionally detained can be addressed at this level.
“I think until those avenues are exhausted, they still have a lot more to do in that regard. And to also get other actors.
“They don’t need to be faith-based because they are a faith-based organisation. Get human right actors, the Nigerian Bar Association to actually look at this issue from a rule of law perspective. From that angle, perhaps, there could be a delegation separate from the Shi’ites, who could say in this matter, we want the rule of law respected.”
Ojigho further the motive of the state government in charging Zakzaky to court in April after holding him captive for so long, despite court orders demanding his release, is unclear.
“We have been consistent in our messaging around the issue. It is illegal and it is unconstitutional and there is no justification for the continued of El-Zakzaky and his wife and all other supports of IMN who have been held incommunicado detention,” she said.
“We are watching this case and actually monitoring the situation in order to see what facts will be brought before the courts and to see how they will prosecute it.
“We find it unusual that it has taken them nearly three years for them to bring a case against him. That is why we are being cautious and we are asking the question, are they bringing the case against him now to show to people that he is actually a suspect who has committed crime or it is just a ploy to distract us from the fact that they have actually held him illegally for this long.”