A High Court in Kaduna State on Wednesday acquitted the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.
The court also directed that they should be immediately released from detention and set free.
This is not the first time the court have ordered that the cleric and his wife be set free, but the government has continued to keep them both in detention.
In a ruling that lasted eight hours, Justice Gideon Kurada discharged the couple on an eight-count charge of culpable homicide, disruption of public peace, and unlawful assembly among others levelled against them by the Kaduna State government.
The government had accused El-Zakzaky and his wife of being responsible for the death of a soldier during a rally by the Shiites members in Zaria in December 2015.
The judge also upheld a “no case” submission filed by the IMN leader’s lead counsel, Femi Falana (SAN).
The trial of El-Zakzaky and his wife was not without intrigues as all the roads leading to the court were blocked by fierce-looking security officers stationed at strategic locations in the Kaduna State capital.
Security operatives, including the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), were put on red alert to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
Offices and other business outlets in the area were also under lock and key as shop owners and workers refused to come out for fear of the unknown.
Journalists were also barred from covering the proceedings.
Join the conversation
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...