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Illegal detention: Judge’s absence shifts ruling in El-Zakzaky’s case to Dec 2

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria.
The absence of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, stalled the judgment  in the suit filed by the leader of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.
The judgment was earlier slated to be delivered yesterday but was botched owing to the absence of the trial Judge.
An official of the court told counsel and members of the movement who were in court for the judgment that the court will not sit and that judgement had been shifted to Friday December 2, 2016.
Recalled that the date for judgment was fixed after parties in the suit argued and adopted their processes filed in the suit.
During the trial, counsel to the Shi’ite leader, Femi Falana (SAN), told the court that the continuous detention of his client by the federal government violated his constitutional rights.
Counsel to the Federal Government, Tijani Ghazali, in his submission told the court that El-zakzaky is being held under protective custody due to intelligence report that his life is under threat.
After listening to argument from counsel, Justice Kolawole advised parties in the suit to explore the possibility of resolving the suit through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and adjourned the case for judgement, if parties are unable to reach an agreement.
Specifically, the Shi’ite leader who has been in detention since December 14, 2015, applied for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to private and family life and private property.
The court is among other things, prayed to declare that, “the detention of the applicant at Abuja by the respondents since December 14, 2015, is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental rights to personal liberty as enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
Falana is contending that the continued detention of his client without being charged before a competent court is in violation of his right to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He said that his client had since lost one of his eye owing to the treatment meted out to him by security agents acting on behalf of the federal government, adding that the detained Sh’ite leader was denied access to his medical doctors, family members and relatives.
Insisting that his client’s rights to health and association as enshrined in Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights was violated, Falana wants the court to declare that detention of the applicant “without access to his family and friends was not only illegal but in violation of his rights to freedom of association as enshrined in section 40 of the Constitution”.
Likewise, he is praying the court for, “An order directing the immediate and unconditional release of the applicant from the custody of the 1st and 2nd respondents”, among other prayers.
It will be recalled that Zakzaky’s arrest and detention followed a violent clash that occurred at Zaria in Kaduna State on December 14, 2015, between his followers and detachments of the Nigerian Army accompanying the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General T. Y Buratai.
The clash had resulted in loss of lives of members of the Shi’ite sect, among whom included the applicant’s wife and son.