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Shiites to Osibanjo: Release El-Zakzaky now and cement your democratic credentials 

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Chukwuma Dike 

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN),  referred to as Shiites Sect, has challenged the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to live up to his credentials as a democrat, lawyer and uphold the rule of law by releasing their embattled leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky from detention.

The President IMN Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement on Thursday, expressed belief  “that this is a golden opportunity” for  Osinbajo, to live up to his words by setting free Zakzaky and his wife, “who have been in illegal detention for over a year without charges, in flagrant contempt of court judgement that ordered their release”. 

“We highly welcome his recent speech at the two-day Eko Stakeholders summit, in which he reportedly chided the Nigerian Police Force and judges for ‘keeping suspects in custody longer than is legally permissible without trial’, ” he said.

Musa drew the attention of the acting President to the fact that the Sheikh and his wife have been in unlawful detention without charges, in violation of all known laws known to man. 

He noted that a judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had ordered that both be unconditionally released and provided accommodation in a town of their choice, and be paid damages all within 45 days of the judgement. 

He said that rather than fully comply with the judgment, the government ignored it, and continued to defy the judgement with reckless impunity, well beyond the given period.

He stated: “The current administration has been pathetic and abhorrent in its attitude, since its inception, with respect to adherence to the rule of law, through total disdain and disregard of court orders pertaining to the release of detainees. 

“It is rather unfortunate that a government that has a person of the caliber of Yemi Osinbajo, a holder of the prestigious title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as Vice president, will be making contempt of various courts with impunity its hallmark. However, now as the acting President, we expect him to toe a different line altogether in this regard by promptly obeying court orders in relation to Sheikh Zakzaky and the Zaria massacre. It is in that light we cautiously welcome his words at the Summit, that “If we can agree that these problems are against our collective interests as practitioners and stakeholders, then we must make a firm commitment to tackle the problems by changing our attitude and standing up for what is right.”

The IMN, Musa said, believes that charity should begin at home. 

He stressed that f the Vice President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who represented him at the summit, being both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) want the world to take them serious on what they themselves acknowledged as a breach of constitutional laws, then they should start by obeying the legitimate orders of the courts by releasing the Sheikh, who was earlier set free by a federal high court judge.

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