FG Accuses El-Zakzaky Of ‘Unruly Behaviour’, Apologises To India

BREAKING: Court Fixes October To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application
Ibrahim El-Zakzaky addresses reporters in Abuja in January 2018.

 

 

The Federal Government has accused the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, of unruly behaviour in India.

The government made the allegation in a statement on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Gekpe.

This followed claims by members of the IMN that their leader was being treated like a criminal under heavy security surveillance in India.

They also alleged that El-Zakzaky, who was flown to Medenta Hospital in New Delhi alongside his wife, Zenaat, was being caged and not allowed any form of freedom.

READ ALSO: ‘We Were Brought To Another Detention’, El-Zakzaky Speaks On Situation In Indian Hospital [Full Transcript]

But the government described the allegations as “foul cry”, stressing that claims the IMN leader was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

According to it, El-Zakzaky was allowed to embark on the trip with state officials in line with a court order, while his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal doctors was not opposed.

The government said the IMN leader chose the hospital where he was admitted in India, but he began to display “ulterior motives” against laid down procedures.

It added that El-Zakzaky requested that his passport be handed over to him and declined to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.

The government accused the IMN leader of frustrating the Indian authorities which said it would return him to Nigeria with immediate effect.

It, however, commended the stand of the country and apologised to India, noting that El-Zakzaky’s prosecution would continue when he returns to the country.

Read the full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

THE TRUE STORY ON EL-ZAKZAKY IN INDIA

The Court on 5th August 2019 granted Sheikh Ibraheem EL-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment. Consequently, the Government and its relevant agencies took steps to comply with the Order.

In line with the Court Order, El-Zakzaky was approved to embark on the trip with State officials and his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal Doctors was not opposed by the government.

On 12th August 2019, he and other members of the entourage went to India via Dubai. It is to be noted that El-Zakzaky particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India. However, on reaching Dubai, El-Zakzaky began to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.

He requested that his passport be handed over to him but the State officials would not budge to his pressure. The situation became worse in India as he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.

In addition, he demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds as well as requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital. The request was refused on the ground that he came into the country for medicals and not as a tourist (more so that his Visa was issued on medical grounds and not for tourism). He also demanded that Police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.

Against medical ethics and standard practice, he requested to nominate Doctors of his choice to join the ones tasked by Medanta Hospital to perform medical treatment on him and his wife. This created a stalemate, which the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.

Frustrated by his antics, the Indian authorities have expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect. This is on the account that they will not allow him use their country to internationalize his group’s activities.

Against this background, the Nigerian government wishes to commend the stand of the Indian Government as well as apologize to her for the unruly behaviour of El-Zakzaky. Similarly, the attention of the public and indeed the international community is hereby drawn to these unfortunate developments.

The government also wishes to use this opportunity to affirm its readiness to undertake the prosecution of El-Zakzaky through due process if and when he is returned to the country. On this note, his foul cry that he is being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

Dcns. Grace Isu Gekpe
Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Information and Culture,
Abuja
14th August 2019

‘If Revolution Is A Crime, Then Why Were APC Leaders Not Charged?’ – The Week In Quotes

 

The news which made the rounds within week 32 in Nigeria, was mostly characterized by the fall-outs from the arrest of embattled Presidential Candidate of the AAC, Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore was arrested over his proposed ‘Revolution March’, a protest which has continued to stir debates.

Below are top quotes of the week, some of which stem from Sowore’s arrest, and others from various pressing issues from across the world, within the period in focus.

  1. “If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out  Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?”

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, defends Sowore’s protest march, saying protests are not treasonable offences.

2. “Planned ‘Revolution’ march, a treasonable felony”

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Mohammed in reacting to calls for the ‘Revolution March’ says the protest amounts to treasonable felony.

3. “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, but it was also an act of cowardice.”

US President Donald Trump condemns mass shooting at a Walmart store in Texas.

4. “Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.” 

Former US President Barack Obama pays tribute to Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison who died aged 88 following a short illness.

5. “The IMN leader and his wife are bona fide citizens of Nigeria, and therefore can’t abandon their fatherland to seek political asylum in a foreign land”.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), says its leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat will not seek asylum in a foreign land.

READ ALSO: Quotes Of The Week July 28 To August 3

6. “Nothing that Sowore has done suggests a violent overthrow of government.”

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka says that nothing which the human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, has said or done suggests that he wants to take down the Nigerian government by violence.

7. “I think there should be a declaration of security emergency throughout the land. “

Professor Wole Soyinka ask President Muhammadu Buhari to declare security emergency across the nation.

8. “Does Sowore want Nigerians to make him President?”

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole says that the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore must be clear on what he wants.

9. “We want to directly ask President Muhammadu Buhari release the political prisoners; it is not done in any political dispensation.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of those it describes as political prisoners in the country.

10. “This government is allergic to plurality of voices, criticism”.

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Mike Ozekhome accuses President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of not being tolerant to criticism.

El-Zakzaky: Kaduna State Government To Appeal High Court Judgment

Court To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application August 5
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

 

The Kaduna State Government says it will appeal against the Monday’s decision of the state’s High Court which granted permission to the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, to seek medical treatment in India.

The state commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan who confirmed this to channels Television, says although the state government will not appeal for stay of execution of the judgment, he however lists some conditions contained in the appeal that will warrant the applicants to be granted leave to travel abroad for medical treatment.

​​​He says that in compliance with the court ruling, the Kaduna State Government has filed at the Kaduna High Court terms for strict supervision of the medical leave, as follows:

that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall confirm the appointments of the defendants/applicants with the Medanta Hospital, India, and undertake all necessary diplomatic arrangements and protocols to ensure compliance with the conditions of the medical leave.

2. Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake to return to Nigeria to continue their trial as soon as they are discharged from the hospital, and shall also be responsible for the cost of their travel, treatment and living expenses while on their medical leave.

READ ALSO: El-Zakzaky: I Hope Other Court Orders Would Also Be Complied With – Falana

3. Each of the defendants/applicants shall produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one being a first class chief/emir of national repute and the other a prominent person within Kaduna State who shall undertake to produce the defendants whenever they are needed. The sureties must also produce evidence of landed property within Kaduna State.

4. The Federal Government of Nigeria shall obtain from the Government of India an irrevocable guarantee that it will not entertain any application by the defendants/applicants or any third party seeking asylum under any guise or conferring the status of political prisoners or any other status aside from being medical patients on the defendants/applicants and shall also restrain the defendants/applicants from any act inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

5. Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake in writing, endorsed by their Counsel, that while on medical treatment in India, they shall do nothing to jeopardize the ongoing trial, the peace and security of Nigeria and the laws of the Republic of India in whatever form.

6. Security agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria shall escort the defendants/applicants and remain with them throughout the duration of their treatment in India and thereafter shall return with them after their discharge from the hospital.

7. The Nigerian High Commission in India shall undertake prior vetting and grant consent before any visitor has access to the defendants/applicants while in the Republic of India.

As is readily evident from the above, many of these terms of supervision depend for their actualization on actions by the Federal Government of Nigeria which is the sovereign power vested with the constitutional responsibility for foreign affairs.

According the Aruwan, while the Kaduna State Government respects the court’s ruling on medical leave, it disagrees with the premises on which it is based. Therefore, an appeal will be lodged on the matter, but a stay of execution will not be sought as the state government believes that a person may choose to travel abroad for any medical condition at his own cost.

Shiite Protests Have Become Anything But Civil – Adesina

 

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has said protests by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), over the continued detention of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, have become anything but civil.

Mr Adesina, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said this while reacting to the killing of several persons following the Shiite protest on Monday.

According to him, there is a case coming up on July 29 where El-Zakzaky would be seeking bail to go abroad for medical attention and the Shiites could have been patient for the decision of the court, rather than resorting to violence.

He further stated that the police only responded with live ammunition because the protesters were not being civil.

“The protests had become anything but civil. You saw what happened at the National Assembly on July 9… they stormed that place, set so many cars ablaze, a policeman was killed, so it was anything but civil,” he said.

“The police said all protests in Abuja had been restricted to the Unity Fountain so if they wanted a civil, peaceful protest, they would do it at the prescribed place, granted that under democracy, you have the right to protest.

“Democracy recognises civil protest and one thing you would agree to is that till now, the police had used minimum force because they could have started using those live rounds from day one because this has persisted for months”.

Read Also: ‘I Just Can’t Get Over It’, Adesina Reacts To Death Of Channels TV Staff

 

 

Speaking further, he denied reports that the government is considering proscribing the group.

“No no no… If government is considering it, who told them, who confirmed it to them. Someone may have sat in the comfort of his living room and concocted that story,” he said when asked to confirm.

When asked why the IMN leader has remained in detention despite a court order for his release in 2016, Mr Adesina said it is a legal matter.

“I know that the immediate past AGF in whose purview it was to make pronouncements on that, addressed the issue.

“If bail is granted and another case subsists or there is an immediate filing of appeal, you have to wait till it is dispensed with. So, that is a legal matter which is outside my purview but as a layman, (an unlearned man as lawyers would call us), we know that until all cases are dispensed with, you don’t say that it has been concluded,” Mr Adesina explained.

Shiites Protest Again, Demand El-Zakzaky’s Release

Shiites Protest Again, Demand El-Zakzaky’s Release

 

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have returned to the streets of Abuja, to demand the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

During a protest, spokesperson for the Academic Forum of the group Abdullahi Musa noted that the Shiites were more resolved than ever to continue the demonstration until their leader was granted freedom.

“This protest is a peaceful protest and it has been peaceful for long, for almost four years,” he told Channels Television on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: ‘Elzakzaky Must Not Be Allowed To Die,’ Falana Warns FG

“It only went violent when the authorities caused the violence. They are the violators, they are the people that shoot teargas.

“They are the people that shoot live ammunition to kill us, they are the people that vandalised people’s vehicles and properties in Abuja, in order to justify what they did,” he alleged.

This time, the Shiites took the protest to the offices of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Public Complaint Commission, both of which share the same fence in the nation’s capital.

Mr Musa insisted that no amount of intimidation would deter them from carrying out the protest, following a demonstration at the National Assembly which turned violent.

He said, “We are always coming out to call for the freedom of our leader and we want him freed. There is no amount of killing that will stop up from protesting in Abuja.

“Allow him (ElZakzaky) go; he has committed no offence, he has every right to practice his religion the way he understands it.”

While the protest was ongoing in Abuja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, cautioned the Federal Government against the continued detention of El-Zakzaky.

In a statement, he warned that the nation may be heading into another insurgency war, should the Shiites’ leader die in detention.

According to Falana, Nigeria cannot afford another insurgency war, especially at a time when it was battling banditry and other forms of crimes.

Again, IMN Members Demand Release Of El-Zakzaky, Wife

 

Some members of the academic forum of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria on Wednesday renewed their demand for the release of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah.

The spokesperson of the forum, Mukhtar Auwal at a conference in Abuja said his continued detention despite a 2016 Federal High Court order against the alleged protective custody is worsening his health condition.

They, therefore, called for their immediate release to enable seek proper medical attention.

“We are reiterating our demand for the unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife,” he stated.

The IMN leader is facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges in a Kaduna State High Court.

He and his wife were first arraigned on May 15, 2018, two years after their arrest in December 2015 in Zaria.

Police Officers Hospitalised After Clash With Shiites

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria a.k.a Shiites clash with Police officers in Abuja on May 14, 2018.

 

Some police officers have been landed in the hospital following a clash between them and some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, also known as Shiites.

The police spokesperson in the Federal Capital Territory, Anjuguri Manzah, disclosed this when he took journalists to see the injured officers, Superintendent of Police Ogah Linus and Inspector Mary Ameh at the Garki Hospital Abuja.

The Shiite members were said to have stormed the Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Monday, to protest the release of their leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Read Also: Police, Shiites Clash At Federal Secretariat In Abuja

The angry protesters allegedly grounded the complex and took over the roads in the area, just a few metres from the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly complex.

They were reportedly armed with stones and other objects which they used to destroy the police vehicles.

The Police authorities, however, said they arrested 60 members of the group.

According to Manzah, as much as the police respect the rights of citizens to protest, such protests must be within the ambits of the law.

The Kaduna State Government on Tuesday arraigned the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El-zakzaky before a state high court.

 

He added that investigations are underway to ensure the violent protesters are made to face the full force of the law.

Monday’s incident is the latest in the series of clashes between both parties this year.

In a recent faceoff on April 23, the Shiite members threw stones and other objects at the security operatives, causing damage to cars and buildings in the Maitama area of Abuja.

In return, the police fired tear gas at the protesters to disperse them. It later cordoned off part of the road between Eagle Square and Unity Fountain in the FCT.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government on Tuesday arraigned the IMN leader and his wife before a state high court.

They are being arraigned on eight counts of alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace, among other allegations.

Police, Shiites Clash At Federal Secretariat In Abuja

Police, Shiites Clash At Federal Secretariat In Abuja

 

There was a clash on Monday between the police and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) at the Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Shiite members had stormed the area to protest the released of their leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

READ ALSO: SERAP Drags FG To UN Over El-Zakzaky, Dasuki

The angry protesters were said to have grounded the complex and taken over the roads in the area, just a few metres from the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly complex.

They were reportedly armed with stones, daring the security operatives that were earlier deployed in the area to dislodge them.

A source, however, confirmed to Channels Television via telephone that a team of policemen swiftly arrived at the scene to disperse the protesting Shiite members.

PHOTOS: Shiites Clash With Police In Abuja

The protesters were removed from the area with tear gas and water cannon, while the Shiites also destroyed a police vehicle.

A police vehicle destroyed when the Shiite members clashed with the police on Moy 14 in Abuja.

Monday’s incident is the latest in the series of clashes between both parties this year.

In a recent faceoff on April 23, the Shiite members threw stones and other objects at the security operatives, causing damage to cars and buildings in the Maitama area of Abuja.

In return, the police fire tear gas at the protesters in order to disperse them and cordoned off part of the road between Eagle Square and Unity Fountain in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has continued to accuse the Federal Government of disobeying court orders over the continued detention of El-Zakzaky.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky addresses reporters in Abuja in January 2018.

 

In a petition dated May 11, 2018, SERAP asked the United Nations to uphold Nigeria’s international obligations on the protection of the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

El-Zakzaky was detained after members of the Shiite group clashed with soldiers in Zaria in December 2015, an incident which led to the death of several people.

The Kaduna State government had consequently charged El-Zakzaky and three other leaders of the Shiite group to court in April 2018.

They include Mallama Zeenah Ibraheem, Yakub Yahaya Katsina, and Sanusi Abdulkadir Koki.

The Shiite leaders were charged with eight counts bordering on culpable homicide, inciting disturbance and promoting unlawful assembly.

SERAP Drags FG To UN Over El-Zakzaky, Dasuki

SERAP Drags FG To UN Over El-Zakzaky, Dasuki

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations over the detention of leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, as well as the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

In a statement by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation accused the Federal Government of disobeying court orders.

The petition was dated May 11, 2018, and addressed to UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr Diego Garcia-Sayan.

El-Zakzaky was detained after members of the Shiite group clashed with soldiers in Zaria in December 2015 while Colonel Dasuki is being accused of diverting $2.1 billion belonging to the Federal Government while he served as the NSA.

In its petition, SERAP asked the UN to prevail on the government to end “persistent disobedience of court rulings and orders”.

It also asked the UN to uphold the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the country’s international obligations on the protection of the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

The organisation said, “Selective enforcement of court orders if not urgently addressed would ultimately put the rule of law in Nigeria under siege.”

“Persistent and apparently deliberate disobedience of court rulings by the Nigerian authorities is an affront to the supremacy of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary and if not urgently addressed may lead to self-help and undermine the authorities’ oft-expressed commitment to fighting corruption,” it added.

SERAP stressed further that protecting judicial independence is an obligation to be guaranteed and not a privilege that states may grant.

It noted that disobeying court rulings directly violates the fundamental principles of the rule of law and separation of powers.

It, however, urged the UN to publicly condemn the alleged disobedience of court orders by the Nigerian authorities and prevail on them to refrain from any purported threats or interference that may hamper court’s independence as the supreme guardian of the nation’s constitution and laws.

The petition reads in part: “Disobedience of court orders is a serious threat to the independence and integrity of the judiciary and would undermine the crucial role of the judiciary in combating corruption and obstruct access to justice, contrary to international standards, including Article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.

“SERAP also notes Principles 2 and 4 of the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary mention the requirement of non-interference to guarantee the independence of the judiciary. Such lack of interference implies that no authority, private group or individual may interfere in judicial decisions; they must respect and abide by the decisions of the judiciary.

“Nigerian authorities have disobeyed court orders in several cases including those involving the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and SERAP. Many state governments in Nigeria also continue to flagrantly disobey court orders with almost complete impunity.

“Other court orders that the government continue to disobey include: the ECOWAS court judgment ordering the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination; the rulings by Nigerian courts ordering the authorities to establish education banks to assist poor students to obtain loans to pursue tertiary education and the restoration of people’s bank to give loans without collaterals to underprivileged citizens.

“At least two of the court rulings SERAP recently obtained from the Federal High Court have been disobeyed by the Nigerian authorities. The first involves a case with suit number FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011 delivered in March 2016 where Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria to widely publish details on the spending of recovered stolen funds by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.

“The details ordered to be published by the court include: (a) Detailed information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria (b) The amount that has been spent from the recovered stolen public assets and the objects of such spending (c) Details of projects on which recovered stolen public assets were spent.

“The second court judgment involves a case with suit number FHC/CS/964/2016 delivered in July 2017 where Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordered the government to tell Nigerians the circumstances under which allegedly recovered stolen assets were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.

“However, the Nigerian authorities would seem to have only partially obeyed the court orders in this case. The authorities are not known to have appealed any of these court judgments and rulings.

“Under both the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights treaties, to which Nigeria is a state party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to the right to an effective remedy, and to seek justice in courts in cases of violations of human rights.”

Police Disperse ‘Free El-Zakzaky’ Protesters With Teargas

Supporters of  the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, have taken to the streets of Abuja in what they have termed a ‘free El-Zakzaky’ protest.

In an attempt to disperse the protesters who converged on Unity Fountain, the Police sprayed them with teargas, having failed to disperse them with water, which thereafter forced them to move into the streets.

Protesters being Dispersed.

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, who addressed the protesters before they were chased out of the Unity Fountain, advised the Federal Government to respect the rule of law by releasing the group leader, (Sheikh) Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on December 2, 2016, ordered his release and awarded a cumulative sum of 50 million Naira to the Zakzakys and ordered the AGF and IGP to provide him a new accommodation and security in any part of Kaduna or Northern region that they prefer within 45 days; a judgment which is however yet to be obeyed.

The Shi’ites leader has however remained in custody for 485 days now, despite the judgment.