Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has urged the Federal Government to adhere to the court orders for the release of his client, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
Falana, in a letter dated January 2, 2020, and addressed to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, said his request is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to respect the rule of law in his New Year message.
“In view of the recent decision of the federal government to comply with all court orders we have the instructions of our clients to request you to ensure compliance with the valid and subsisting orders of the federal high court and Kaduna state high court concerning them which are set out hereunder,” he said.
“On December 2, 2016, the federal high court presided over by the Honourable Justice G. O. Kolawole (now of the Court of Appeal) declared illegal and unconstitutional the arrest and detention of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeinat El-Zakzaky by armed soldiers.
“Consequently, the Court awarded them N50 million damages for their illegal detention, ordered the state security service to release them from custody forthwith and provide them with a house since the Nigerian Army had burnt down and demolished their house in Zaria, Kaduna State.
“Without any legal basis whatsoever the federal government refused to comply with the aforesaid court orders. Curiously, the contemptuous acts of the federal government were publicly defended by your good self and some other high ranking officials of the Buhari administration,” his letter read.
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 when some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state. They were granted the permission in August, 2019, to seek medical attention in India but they had returned after only a few days claiming the Federal Government had made his medical trip hell.