Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja, challenging the seizure of their international passports by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
In their separate suits filed by the Femi Falana Chambers on October 14, they told the court that their passports were last seen in the possession of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which has officially denied that it was in their possession.
On attempting to renew their passports through the Immigration Service, it was revealed that the passports have been flagged by the DSS. They add that all requests to remove the restriction have been ignored by the secret agency.
The duo asked the court to compel the DSS and the AGF to release their passports and lift the red flag restrictions.
They are also asking the court to declare that the seizure of their passports since May 2019, as illegal and unconstitutional because it violates their fundamental rights to freedom of movement.
They asked the court to mandate the defendants to pay the sum of N2 billion each, as general and exemplary damages, for the violation of their rights to freedom of movement.
The reliefs sought include by the plaintiffs include:
“A declaration that the seizure of the Applicants Passport No A50578740 since May 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“A declaration that the Red Flag Travelling Restrictions placed on the Applicants Passport and land borders by the Respondents without a court order is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“A declaration that the refusal of the Respondents to allow the Applicant to travel abroad for medical treatment constitutes a threat to his life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to release the Applicant’s international passport number A50578740 to him in order to enable him to access prompt and adequate medical attention as recommended by his physicians.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to lift the Red Flag Restrictions (and all or every form of restriction howsoever) placed on the International Passport number A50578740 of the Applicant by agents of the Respondents forthwith.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to pay over to the applicant the sum of Two Billion Naira (N2,000,000,000.00) as general and exemplary damages for the violation of the Applicant’s rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents from further violating the Applicants fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”
El-Zakzaky and his wife added that the seizure of their passports, and an absence of a court order, amounts to a threat to their lives since they have been denied the opportunity to seek urgent medical attention outside the country as recommended by their doctors.