The Department of State Services, DSS, deceived Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise referred to as Shi’ite, to accept to be paraded on Saturday.
He agreed to be paraded alongside his wife under the assurance that he would soon be released from the detention which he had been kept for about two years.
This was made known by Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana in a statement on Sunday.
El-Zakzaky was paraded with his wife on Saturday by the DSS where he debunked the news making the round that he was dead.
Appearing with a neck brace, El-Zakzaky in a very brief statement, said he was not dead and that he was getting better.
He added that his personal doctor had been given access to him.
But in his statement, Falana said that following the rumour of the death of El-Zakzaky, he advised that he be released alongside his wife for urgent medical attention, but was told that they would be released after a media parade.
His words: “Last week, it was widely rumoured in the social media that Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky had died in the illegal custody of the State Security Service. Although I was compelled to dismiss the dangerous rumour via a public statement I requested the federal government to release the Shiite leader and his wife for urgent medical attention.
“Instead of acceding to my request the State Security Service misinformed Sheik Elzakzaky and his wife of the readiness of the federal government to release them after a media parade to assure the Shia community that the Sheik is alive and well. Hence, they agreed to the media parade which lasted for one minute and 20 seconds (yesterday) in an undisclosed detention custody at Abuja.”
Falana stated further that contrary to the official claim that the Shiite leader was hale and hearty he was wearing a neck collar support which was procurred for him when he fell sometime last December.
He added that that was when his personal doctor was allowed to examine him for the first time in his over 2-year detention period.
He said before the neck injury he had lost his left eye while the recommendation of eye specialists that he be flown abroad to save the right eye and prevent him from going totally blind had been ignored by the federal government.
Falana said the medical state of El-Zakzaky’s wife was by far worse than his.
He said she had been subjected to excruciating pain as some of the bullets deposited in her body on December 14, 2015 during the military invasion of their home in Zaria had not been removed.
He said that was why the organisers of the media parade deliberately prevented her from addressing the media representatives even though she was present at the so-called press conference.
Falana reiterated the call for the release of the Shi’ite leader and his wife.
His words: “Having paraded the couple before the media, albeit illegally, the federal government should immediately proceed to purge itself of the aggravated contempt of the Federal High Court by complying with the order for their release from the illegal custody of the State Security Service.
“The order which was made on December 2, 2016 has not been set aside by any higher court. Yet, the federal government which claims to operate under the Rule of Law has ignored the court order. However, if the federal government does not want to end the official impunity of treating a valid and subsisting court order with disdain it should release the Elzakzakys to their children who have applied to take them abroad for urgent medical treatment.
“This request is in line with Nigerian Prison Regulation 12 which stipulates that even convicts shall be released to their relatives or friends if the prison has no facilities for treating them. In Fawehinmi v The State (1990) 1 NWLR (pt 127) 486 the appellant was granted bail and released on bail pending trial by a military junta. The situation should not be worse under a democratic dispensation.”
Falana added that “In the instant case, the Elzakzakys have not been charged with any criminal offence whatsoever. The spurious claim of the federal government that the detainees are held ‘in protective custody’ was poohpoohed and dismissed by the Federal High Court (per G. O. Kolawole J.). Instead of chasing the shadow by subjecting the couple to illegal media parade the federal government should direct the State Security Service to release them from illegal incarceration without any further delay.”