RELEASE OUR LEADER UNCONDITIONALLY!
Below is the press statement delivered by Sheikh Abdulhamid Bello, head of the Shuhadah (Martyrs) Foundation, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, today at 1st Forty hotel, No. 38, Aminu Kano crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, stating the reaction of IMN on the continued detention of our leader Sheikh Zakzaky, even when a Federal High court has set him free.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
On the 2nd day of December 2016, the Hon. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court Abuja gave judgment in two consolidated suits filed by our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem and ordered their unconditional release within 45 days of the judgment. In the judgment, the Court found, declared and ordered as follows:
1. That the detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem since the 14th day of December 2015 is illegal and unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to personal liberty, dignity of persons and fair hearing.
2. That the detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem at Abuja since the 14th day of December 2015 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates their fundamental rights to health and association.
3. That the detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem without access to family and friends since the 14th day of December 2015 is illegal and unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to freedom of association.
4. That the detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem since the 14th day of December 2015 without access to family members and friends is illegal and unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to freedom of movement.
5. That the Department of State Services actively working in conjunction with the Attorney General of the Federation, in its capacity as the Legal Representative of the Federal Government of Nigeria and being the “Chief Law Officer” of the Federation “shall within 45 days of that judgment, make proper and decent arrangement of a residential abode for the Sheikh and his family in Kaduna State or anywhere of their choice within the Northern Region, where the Sheikh and his wife with their children can relocate when released upon the expiration of 45 days.
6. That “the failure (whether by deliberate action or inadvertence) of the 1st and 3rd Respondents to effect the release of the Applicant herein and his wife from the 1st Respondents custody or any illegal custody whatsoever, upon the expiration of the 45th day from today, such failure shall not only constitute a deliberate act of disobedience of these orders, but will crystallize into fresh cause of action of infraction of the Applicants rights and of his wife to personal liberty guaranteed by CFRN, 1999(as amended)”.
7. That an award of Twenty Five Million Naira(N25,000,000.00) for our leader and another Twenty Five Million Naira (N25,000,000.00) for Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem should be adequate to assuage the deprivation which the Sheikh and his wife have been put to on account of the acts of the Department of State Services and the Government.
8. That the Department of State Services and the Attorney General of the Federation shall in execution of the judgment of court release our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem to the Inspector General of Police or any of his subordinate officers not below the rank of Assistant Inspector General(AIG) when he “receives the applicant and his wife as ordered herein, shall take immediate steps within 24 hours of receiving the Applicant and his wife from the 1st and 3rd Respondents, convey the Applicant and his wife under necessary security escort to their place of abode as would have been provided by the 1st respondent working in conjunction with the 3rd respondent.”
• These orders made by the Court are clear, unequivocal and accords with common sense, our sense of justice and the tenets of democracy the country follows, founded on the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of its citizens.
• One thing is clear and that is the fact that it is the Federal Government that is holding our leader. Prior to the judgment of the Court, the Federal Government gave the Nigerian people the impression that it was the Kaduna State Government that was holding our leader. While the Kaduna State Governor is complicit in the travails of our leader, he has his inspiration and muscle from the Federal Government.
• We find it difficult to understand why the Government has decided against all international human rights norms and tenets of decency to hold our leader without trial. A few people that do not wish our Movement well claimed that we do not recognize the sovereignty of Nigeria and its institutions, yet we took our grievances to a properly constituted court of law. The government claimed that members of our Movement do not obey the rule of law and due process but it is our leader who has been held in solitary confinement for one year and one month without any charges being filed against him and without the authorities alleging any offence against him. The Houses of our leader have been destroyed arbitrary. His children have been brutally killed. His wife is in custody and carrying bullet wounds. Our leader has lost one eye and is in the process of losing the remaining one. The Kaduna State Government has also obliterated anything associated with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria despite the fact that all properties of our leader and properties of our Movement have valid and subsisting Certificates of Occupancy. In the light of all these the Islamic Movement in Nigeria demands as follows:
1. We demand and insist that the Federal Government and its agencies must release our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenatu Ibraheem unconditionally and in accordance with the procedures laid down in the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on the 2nd day of December 2016.
2. The Federal Government and its agencies must obey the orders of the Federal High Court Abuja, as they have a responsibility to show good example to the people of Nigeria as a regime that believes in the rule of law and due process. Serial disobedience to court orders and contempt for the fundamental rights of citizens to freedom of religion does not portray our country as one that is ready to manage its religious diversity in a way that strengthens the federation.
3. The Kaduna State must discontinue its unjustified persecution of over 350 of its members that are facing charges of culpable homicide in the Kaduna High Court on the wobbly ground that all 350 of them killed one soldier, whereas the Kaduna State Government participated in the illegal and unconstitutional burial of over 1000 of our members and has refused to prosecute those that carried out the heinous murder.
4. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria demands that the Government desists from trying to infiltrate the Movement using fifth columnists and agent provocateurs. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria does not believe in violence or the use of violence to achieve its objectives. The Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government have been and continue to engage in provocative acts aimed at inciting the Movement to take to the path of violence in vain. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria assures the Nigerian public that any act of violence attributed to it can only emanate from agent provocateurs being injected into the Movement by State Agents.
5. The Islamic Movement in Nigeria thanks the human rights community and professional groups and organisations for their support in this matter thus far, and urges them to persuade the government to release our leader and his wife and withdraw all trumped up charges against members of our Movement.
6. We urge the international community to persuade the government to obey the orders of court, and to release our leader unconditionally. We also appeal to the international community to commit Nigeria to upholding religious rights and freedoms, failing which the Nigerian government and its agents be isolated and sanctioned.
7. We appeal to all Nigerians to prevail on the government to release our leader to seek medical attention to the challenges of his sight. The Nigerian Army destroyed his left eye and he can hardly see with the right one. Unless our leader is released to seek medical help, he will completely go blind in the custody of the Department of State Services.
The Islamic Movement will continue to use all constitutional and legitimate means and avenues to drive home its points. These include the right of its members to organize and practice their faith in accordance with constitutional injunctions.
Sheikh Abdulhameed Bello
Shuhadah (Martyrs) Foundation
Islamic Movement in Nigeria