ACTIVIST lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, to continue its protest for release of its leader, Sheik Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
Falana, who addressed members of the sect during a rally in Abuja yesterday, said: “I am impressed with your courageous and peaceful protest. Your action is justified under the Constitution, which guaranteed the fundamental rights of every citizen to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Your action is legitimate because it is a protest against impunity arising from the executive lawlessness of the Federal Government. Your demand is in order because it is in line with the tenets of the rule of law. Please keep it up.
“When we were fighting for the restoration of democratic rule under brutal military dictators, I never thought that court orders were going to be treated with disdain by elected governments. It is particularly painful for me that court orders are disobeyed under the current political dispensation, whereas under the Buhari/Idiagbon military junta, court orders for the release of victims of the obnoxious Decree No 2 of 1984 were complied with.
“I urge you and other lovers of democracy not to allow the Buhari administration disobey the judgments of competent courts. As you know, the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice G. O. Kolawole, ordered Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky’s release, and his wife, and awarded them N50 million damages. Since the Army and the Nasir El-Rufai regime demolished and burnt their home on December 15, 2015, the court ordered the government to provide them with a suitable accommodation. Those orders which were granted on December 2, 2016 have been ignored by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, which claims to operate under the Rule of Law.
“Having been subjected to illegal arrest and detention, I can imagine the mental and psychological agony the El-Zakzakys’ are going through in the illegal custody of the State Security Service (SSS). It is an irony that President Buhari is in charge of a civilian government that is detaining people without trial.
“I laud you for your resolute and principled determination to secure the release of your leaders and others. Please continue the protests until you succeed in compelling the government to comply with court orders.”