Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as the Shi’ite sect, have heaved a sigh of relief after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday, ordered the unconditional release of their detained leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Malami Zeenat, within 45 days.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole delivered the judgment on a fundamental right enforcement suit El-Zakzaky filed against the Federal Government.
The Shi’ite leader, had been in detention since December 14, 2015, after a bloody clash between members of the sect and soldiers attached to the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai, at Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Nigerian Army was said to have killed several of the Shi’ite members, an allegation it denied.
However, El-Zakzaky, had applied for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to private and family life and private property.
And ruling on the matter, the court submitted that the continued detention of the applicant without trial amounted to a gross violation of his constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The court therefore awarded N50 million damages against the Federal Government, as well as a construction of a new accommodation for El-Zakzaky’s family in any part of Kaduna
State or the Northern region.
The court threw out the Federal Government’s position that the applicant and his wife were under “protective custody”.
The suit marked FHC/CS/128/2016, was predicated on sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 41 and 46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as on Articles 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12(1) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act,
Since the detention of their leader the group has allegedly lost several of their members while protesting for his release.
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