Alwaght– The Nigerian government has blatantly defied a court order given by the country’s high court calling for the release of Islamic movement leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
On 2 December, 2016 the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled that Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah Ibrahim should be released within 45 days. The court ruled that the detention, which began in December 2015, was illegal and unconstitutional. The deadline for the court order expired on Monday, January 16.
The Nigerian regime led by retired military strongman Muhammadu Buhari is acting with impunity by rejecting an order by a court of law to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky whose health conditioned continues to deteriorate in incarceration.
Sheikh El Zakzaky and his wife are being detained without charges and mainly incommunicado following their arrest during a savage military assault against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in December 2015. Both were shot by government troops during the brutal attack in the northern Nigeria city of Zaria in which at least 1,000 innocent IMN followers, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious institutions belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.
In trying to justify the government’s contempt of court order, the Nigerian government claimed that, ‘public interest and security concerns’ are major reasons why leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has not been released. A Presidency official, who spoke under condition of anonymity with reporters last Thursday in Abuja, said that so many obstacles were working against release of the revered IMN leader. In response to this lame justification, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria issued a statement on Saturday saying, ‘this ridiculous explanation is clearly an afterthought’. A spokesman of IMN Ibrahim Musa issued a statement on Saturday categorically stating that, “Islamic Movement in Nigeria totally rejects the incoherent position of the Presidency in this matter”.
He urged all Nigerians to prevail on the government to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife to seek medical attention.
He also called on the international community to isolate and sanction the Nigerian government and its agents, “who make brazen disrespect of the rule of law and abuse of citizens’ rights their distinguishing pastime“.
Rights group urge Buhari to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky
Amnesty International has issued a statement calling on the Buhari-led regime to immediately comply with a High Court order and release Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife from detention.
“El-Zakzaky is being unlawfully detained. This might be part of a wider effort to cover up the gruesome crimes committed by members of the security forces in Zaria in December 2015 that left hundreds dead,” the statement said.
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has also urged the Nigerian government to obey a court order and release the detained leader of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement immediately.
IHRC has expressed deep concern about the flagrancy with which the security services are continuing to flout both domestic and international law and indeed operate outside all legal norms.
Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s needs urgent treatment
According to sources in Nigeria, Sheikh El Zakzaky’s health has deteriorated and he requires urgent independent medical attention.
Nigerian troops destroyed his left eye and he can hardly see with the right one and there are concerns that unless he is released to seek medical help, he will completely go blind in the custody of the Abuja regime security organs.
Unfortunately, international organizations especially the United Nations has maintained a defining silence on the massacre of over 1,000 Muslims by trigger happy Nigerian troops and also the continuing illegal incarceration of ailing Sheikh El Zakzaky and his wife.
The massacre and continued persecution of the supporters and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria will likely radicalize some members of the organization and escalate the already volatile security situation in the West African country.