BY Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
A Kaduna state high court has freed the embattled leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife.
I recall that El-Zakzaky was arrested by the military on December 13, 2015, and has since been incarcerated then.
Despite several court rulings, the Department of State Services (DSS) refused to release the IMN leader. However, in 2019, the DSS complied with the court order and freed El-Zakzaky who proceeded to India for medical treatment.
El-Zakzaky and his wife left Nigeria in August 2019 but the trip was marred with controversies and he returned to Nigeria after less than a week and returned to protective custody.
I was relieved last week when the court dismissed the case against him as I felt his continuous detention was unnecessary.
However, to my greatest surprise, the Kaduna state government filed fresh charges against El-Zakzaky. I am tempted to ask, for what exactly? With Kaduna state gradually turning to the headquarters of banditry and kidnapping in the country, the concern of the government is how to put the IMN leader in permanent incarceration.
The state government should count its losses and move on. It’s not every battle you win and this ego-tripping will not help anyone.
For the records, those living in Zaria and Kaduna town will attest to the fact that the Shiite members are irritants. They block major roads in Kaduna and Zaria during their procession, causing untold hardship to commuters. They act mostly as if they are above the law. This is very condemnable.
But these are not good enough reasons to put their leader in permanent custody. Don’t forget that the Kaduna state government, in 2016, had announced that 347 persons were killed during the December 12 Shiite/Nigerian Army clash in Zaria.
Balarabe Lawal, the secretary to the state government (SSG), disclosed this in a government submission at the public hearing of the judicial commission of inquiry into the clash.
The Shiite leader even lost two of his children in the unfortunate incident.
Both sides should move on and the state government should withdraw its new charges against El-Zakzakky. I believe he has learned his lessons. What should be on the mind of the government is how to protect schools from bandits and arrest the tide of killings going on in the state. El-Zakzaky should be the least of their problems.