The Director General,
State Security Service,
Re:Demand for the unconditional release of Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenat Ibraheem from unlawful detention
We are Solicitors to Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeenat Zakzaky on whose behalf we write this letter.
Your letter dated 8th April 2016 in respect of the above subject matter refers.
In line with the constitutional rights of our clients to brief and discuss with their clients without official interference we rejected the illegal move by some personnel of the State Security Service to participate in the meeting we held with our clients in your custody last week. Since you and your officers were not privy to the confidential discussions your claim that our clients instructed us to appear before the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government is a figment of your fecund imagination.
Having been kept incommunicado since December 14, 2016 our clients were unaware of the setting up of the Commission. Upon briefing them they categorically instructed us not to appear at the Commission in view of their prolonged detention without trial. We never knew that we were granted access to our clients for the sole purpose of preparing them to appear before the Commission.
Having failed to achieve the dubious objective you have decided to impugn our professional integrity.
In rejecting the embarrassing imputation which lacerated your aforesaid letter we wish to reiterate that we cannot appear before the Commission while our clients are locked up by the perpetrators of the genocidal attack unleashed on them and other unarmed civilians at Zaria, Kaduna state from December 12-14, 2015.
Although our clients were not present at the scene of the dastardly attack the armed soldiers invaded his private residence vi et armis on Sunday, December 14, 2015 on the instructions of the Authorities of the Nigerian Army. The rampaging troops set the house ablaze and opened fire on our clients and their family members. Our clients were severely injured while 3 of their children were shot dead in their presence.
As if that was not enough, the Kaduna State Government assisted the assailants by demolishing the burnt house of our clients. The Government also provided logistics to the murderers for the secret burial of the corpses of the slain children of our clients and the corpses of hundreds of other unarmed civilians in an unmarked shallow grave. In a desperate bid to cover up its role in the commission of such crimes against humanity the Government turned around to institute the Commission to investigate “the remote and immediate causes” of the crisis. However, to prevent our clients from telling their own side of the story at the Commission by exposing the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by the state sponsored murderers and their collaborators the authorities have decided to continue to detain them without trial.
In the same vein, the 182 people who survived the gruesome attack have since been arraigned on a trumped up charge of culpable homicide by the Governnent at the High Court holden at Kaduna. And to prevent the “suspects” from giving evidence at the Commission they are being held in prison custody at the instance of the Government as it is crystal clear that the Authorities have decided to allow the Commission to hear only one side of the story my colleagues and I are unable to accede to your request to reconsider our position. In other words, we cannot persuade ourselves to appear before the Commission in the absence of our clients who are prepared to to give eye witness accounts of the barbaric murder of hundreds of unarmed civilians, including women and children, the mindless destruction of properties and the illegal burial of the bodies of the people who were either killed or injured in the attack by the armed troops and their accomplices.
In view of the foregoing you will agree with us that your claim that we have misrepresented our clients on the issue of appearance at the Commission is totally baseless. However, if you are convinced that we have misrepresented our clients in the circumstance we dare you to release them to facilitate their appearance before the Commission.
Femi Falana (SAN)
Compiled by Harun Elbinawi