The Federal government has again said it will not release the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky on the grounds of security and public interest.
A Presidency official who spoke off the record with journalists on Thursday said against public opinion El-Zakzaky’s wife is keeping her husband company in the apartment where he is being held.
The Shi’ite leader was arrested on the 13th of December 2015 after a faceoff between El-Zakzaky’s followers and the officers of the Nigerian Army. The Shi’ite leader and his group were said to be on a procession in Kaduna and had blocked a convoy carrying the Chief of Army Staff who was on his way to pay homage to the emir of Zazzau. The altercation had become violent leading to the loss of lives. The army killed at least 347 members of the group. The Army later arrested the
Islamic leader after raiding his residence.
Meanwhile, almost a year later, on the 2nd of December 2016, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered for his release. El-Zakzaky had approached the court to demand his release, months after he was arrested without being charged to Court. The government has since refused to honour the
The official who did not want to be mentioned, in an interview with newsmen on Thursday, said the government was putting public interest above individual interests.
“Major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security.
“The issue of the release of zak zaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.
“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any
other individual claim of right. The fedaral government of Nigeria is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions into consideration,” the official said.
On the said detention of the religious leader’s wife along side her husband, the official stated that El-Zakzaky’s wife was not of any security interests and therefore was merely keeping her husband
company in the apartment in which he is kept.
“She is not under detention. If it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMN, she will allowed to go home in a matter of hours,” he asserted.
He explained that El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the Department of Security Services, DSS beside her husband with bullet wounds following the confrontation of the Islamic group with the army.
“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for her hi. Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened.”