Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has again asked the federal government to release Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
In a letter dated January 2 and addressed to Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Falana said he is making the request in line with the pledge of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the rule of law.
In his New Year message on Wednesday, the president promised that his government’s actions at all times would be governed by the rule of law.
Restating the court orders freeing and also granting bail to Sheikh Zakzaky, Falana said the AGF had given contradictory reasons to justify the continued detention of the IMN leader.
“In view of the recent decision of the federal government to comply with all court orders we have the instructions of our clients to request you to ensure compliance with the valid and subsisting orders of the federal high court and Kaduna state high court concerning them which are set out hereunder,” he said.
“On December 2, 2016, the federal high court presided over by the Honourable Justice G. O. Kolawole (now of the Court of Appeal) declared illegal and unconstitutional the arrest and detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeinat Zakzaky by armed soldiers.
“Consequently, the Court awarded them N50 million damages for their illegal detention, ordered the state security service to release them from custody forthwith and provide them with a house since the Nigerian Army had burnt down and demolished their house in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“Without any legal basis whatsoever the federal government refused to comply with the aforesaid court orders. Curiously, the contemptuous acts of the federal government were publicly defended by your good self and some other high ranking officials of the Buhari administration.”
Falana in December demanded the release of Sheikh Zakzaky while reacting to the release of Omoyele Sowore, convener of Revolution Now Movement.
The Department of State Services (DSS) had refused to release Sowore despite a court order, until the AGF gave a directive to that effect.
In his letter, Falana wrote; “following the release of Mr. Omoyele Sowore and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) from illegal custody last week you were reported to have said that our clients could only be released by the Kaduna State government.
“With respect, your position has failed to take cognisance of the fact that your office, the Presidency and the state security service had, up till last month, repeatedly given contradictory reasons to justify the disobedience of the aforesaid court orders for the release of our clients.
“In view of the foregoing, we urge you to use your good offices to review your position and ensure the immediate and unconditional compliance with the valid and subsisting orders of the federal high court and the Kaduna State High Court concerning our clients. This request is in line with the new policy of the Buhari administration to operate under the Rule of Law.”
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 when soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state attacked their residence.