Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome has called on the Nigerian government to hands off religious issues and concentrate more on providing needed amenities for the citizenry.
He made the call on Monday during an interview on Arise Television, lamenting that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El’Zakzaky and his wife are being persecuted mainly for Tigris religious beliefs.
According to him, the government had no business sponsoring citizens for Hajj and pilgrimage outside the country, when there were numerous issues and amenities begging for scarce financial resources.
He also launched a withering attack on the Kaduna State Government over its insistence on filing fresh charges against the IMN leader.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that the Kaduna State government filed fresh charges against El-Zakzaky less than 48 hours after the embattled IMN leader was discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna State High court.
Last week Wednesday, Justice Gideon Kurada discharged and acquitted El’Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, from the eight charges pressed against them by the state government for lack of merit.
However, not satisfied with the ruling, the Kaduna state government on Thursday filed a fresh seven charges against the IMN leader at the Federal High Court.
In the aftermath, Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stated that the new charge filed by the Kaduna state government against El-Zakzaky and his wife, was hurriedly done to prevent the couple’s release from custody.
Mirroring this train of thought, Ozekhome slammed the Kaduna Government for resorting to witch-hunting while flouting the rule of law by disregarding the court’s ruling.
He further lamented the alleged attempt at subverting justice despite the court’s judgement.
According to him, these series of events do not bode well over the entrenchment of fairness and justice with the political system.
The couple has been standing trial for the past six years on eight counts of culpable homicide, disruption of public peace and unlawful assembly among others after the government accused them of being responsible for the death of a soldier when soldiers reportedly killed over 300 protesting Shiites in December 2015.
Despite series of protests and several court rulings ordering his release, they remained in custody until July 28, 2021.
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