“I Won’t Be Able To Rule On Your Case” Federal High Court Judge Tells IMN Members, Transfers Case

A judge of the Federal High Court number two in Kaduna, Justice Zainab Abubakar has openly expressed her inability to deliver judgement in the case of enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria resident in Kaduna.

Some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria living in Kaduna had approached the court sometimes back in 2017 seeking the court to enforce their fundamental rights to worship, assemble peacefully and to propagate or manifest their faith singly or in company of others, privately or in the open.

They were challenging the executive order by the Kaduna state governor, Nasiru Ahmed Elrufai that declared the Islamic Movement as an unlawful group in the state, as stated in the gazette published in October 2016.

The petitioners, acting on behalf of themselves and several others who profess the Shi’ah faith, argued that the order outlawing the Islamic Movement would severely infringe on their rights to associate freely and practice their faith singly or in company of others as provided in the Constitution of Nigeria.

They therefore prayed the court to declare the order as unconstitutional, null and void. They also further prayed the court to restrict security agencies or their agents from preventing them from carrying out their religious observances, and for the court to also restrict them from arresting or molesting them as they manifest or profess their faith.

The case was severally delayed on technical grounds as the Kaduna state government sought all tricks in its books to frustrate the hearing. The case was additionally characterized by change of the judges, until the coming of Justice Abubakar.

At the resumed hearing last Wednesday, Justice Abubakar openly showed her reluctance to continue with the case, saying that she would not be able to rule in the case that pertains a Kaduna state gazette, and that the case be transferred to Kaduna State high court.

This appears to be what the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Paul Usoro recently said about fear by some judges of government intimidation.

Mr. Paul Usoro, who is the president of the NBA recently claimed that judges in the country are afraid to do their job because of intimidation from the executive arm of government.

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