Today marks exactly 600 days since the illegal detention of our revered Leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky despite a valid court order for his release. We continue to strongly voice our opposition to the lame excuses forwarded by the government for his continued incarceration, especially the most irrational of all – that of the so-called ‘protective custody’. The Federal High Court in Abuja has since declared as alien to all known laws of the land and indeed all laws known to man, the concept of protective custody. It therefore ordered the release of the revered Sheikh. However, to the consternation of all, especially the International Community, the Federal Government has continued to contemptuously defy the order.
In his considered judgement, the learned judge of the Abuja Federal High Court, Gabriel Kolawole said inter-alia: “the 1st and 3rd respondents have not been able to discharge the burden placed on them to prove either the legality of the Applicant’s detention in the 1st Respondent’s custody, or to prove that he consents to his being held in a “protective custody”.
Justice Kolawole continued, “When I reflected on all the issues and questions which I had raised in the course of reviewing the processes filed and exchanged by both parties, not only was I unable to set my eyes on the provision of any law or the Constitution by which the Applicant’s detention, albeit in a “protective custody” can be justified. I was unable to answer or resolve any of the questions or issues set down in the addresses filed and exchanged in favour of the 1st and 3rd respondents who as I had earlier remarked, in constitutional jurisprudence, bears the burden they need to discharge against the presumption of law that every act of detention is prima facie unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional until the State or any of its Agencies or Agents is able to show the legal justification for such infraction of fundamental rights to personal liberty, and it can only do so within the exceptions prescribed and recognized by the Constitution itself. This in essence, is the basic concept of constitutionalism and rule of law in very democratic State such as ours.”
Surprisingly, the Government continues to hide under this façade to deceive the public on the actual reasons it continues to breech Sheikh Zakzaky’s freedom.
Undoubtedly, Sheikh Zakzaky is still languishing in jail for no other reasons than his religious views and call for the establishment of divine justice and for his daring comments on contemporary socio-political events locally and internationally.
Sheikh Zakzaky has been most consistent critic of the scam called “Boko Haram.” He has maintained that the phantom group is a creation of the “oil-hungry west.” He pointed out that the terror group expanded exponentially due to a massive influx of personnel and arms from Libya after the French-led, U.S.-backed NATO regime change project. He was also quite vociferous against the injustices perpetrated by the United States against weaker nations, accusing Washington of spreading discord among Muslims. He remained the most consistent critic of the Israeli entity for its abysmal treatment of Palestinians. It seems fairly certain that both the U.S. and the Israeli entity approve of the indefinite detention of Sheikh Zakzaky. That is the only explanation for the deafening silence of the western media in spite of flagrant abuse of rights of the Sheikh and his supporters on a scale never before experienced anywhere else.
As the Sheikh clocks 600 days in illegal detention, we renew our unequivocal call for his immediate and unconditional release. We strengthen our individual and collective resolve, undeterred by continued brutal persecution, to campaign in all lawful and peaceful ways for his release as well as that of his wife and other IMN members also unjustifiably detained. We will leave no stone unturned in our lawful demand for justice for the over a thousand citizens killed extra judicially during the Zaria genocide of December, 2015.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF IMN