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El-Zakzaky Public interest, security concerns, working against Shi’ite leader’s release

A Presidency official said that so many obstacles were working against release of the Shi’ite leader.

  • Published:
Shi'ites members clash with police in Kano play

Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub El-Zakzaky

(Punch)

The Federal Government says public interest and security concerns are major reasons why leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMAN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has not been released.

A Presidency official, who spoke under condition of anonymity with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, said that so many obstacles were working against release of the Shi’ite leader.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Gabriel Kolawola of an Abuja Federal High Court, in his judgment in December 2016, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to release El-Zakzaky within 45 days.

Kolawole also ordered the Federal Government to provide an accommodation for El-Zakzaky, his wife and family members within Kaduna State or any part of the northern region.

The court declared the continuous detention of El-Zakzaky since December 13, 2015 as unlawful and illegal since the issue of protective custody was unknown to law or the National Security Agencies Act establishing the DSS.

However, the presidential official said: “major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in Section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security.

“The issue of the release of El-Zakzaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.

“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any other individual claim of right.’’

According to him, the Federal Government of Nigeria is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions into consideration.

On the said detention of the religious leader’s wife alongside her husband, the official stated that El-Zakzaky’s wife was not of any security interest.

He said, “she is merely keeping her husband company in the apartment in which he is kept.

“She is not under detention, if it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMAN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours.’’

He explained that El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the DSS beside her husband with bullet wounds following IMAN’s encounter with the army.

“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for her husband.

“Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened,’’ he said.

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