Lagos-based lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has written to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, demanding the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement In Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeinab El-Zakzaky.
Mr Falana said their current detention by the Department of State Services is illegal and unwarranted.
In the last one year and a half, El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention for alleged civil disobedience and recalcitrance.
Mr Falana, who is also the lawyer of the detained persons, in a letter dated June 2 and addressed to the Acting President, said his clients have been kept incommunicado and the DSS is preventing him from seeing them.
Reminding the Acting President of his Democracy Day Address in which he said, “”Nigeria belongs to all of us”, Falana asked him to direct the DSS to obey the court ruling which ordered the release of his clients.
He said, “In view of the resolve of the Mohammadu Buhari administration to end impunity in the country we urge Your Excellency to use your good offices to direct the State Security Service to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife from further incarceration in compliance with the orders of the Federal High Court.
“At the same time, Col (Sambo) Dasuki (retd) should be admitted to bail as ordered by the municipal and regional courts.
“We also pray Your Excellency to direct the Nigerian Army to investigate and prosecute the military personnel responsible for the brutal and callous massacre of the 347 members of the Shia Community at Zaria in December 2015.”
Mr Falana argued that although the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by Governor Nasir El-Rufai to probe “the so-called clash between the army and the Shiites” did not recommend El-Zakzaky and his wife for trial the DSS refused to release them “from illegal custody”.
He added, “As our clients’ detention could not be justified in law we filed an application at the Federal High Court holden at Abuja to secure the enforcement of their fundamental rights to personal liberty, the dignity of their persons and fair hearing guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
“In a considered judgment delivered on December 2, 2016, the Federal High Court declared the detention of our clients illegal and unconstitutional and ordered their release from the custody of the State Security Service within 45 days from the date of the judgment.”
Months after, the IMN leader and his wife have remained in custody.