Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has urged the Federal Government to immediately release Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN); his wife, Zeenat, and other detainees deemed to be political prisoners in line with orders from various courts granting such individuals bail.
Falana made the plea in a statement on Tuesday in reaction to the release of his client, Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Sowore was released alongside Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser, following a directive from Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to the DSS to comply with the court orders which granted both individuals bail.
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Confirming the release of Sowore, Falana asked the Federal Government to liaise with the Kaduna State government to comply with the order of a Federal High Court, which had in 2016 declared the detention of El-Zakzaky and his wife illegal and ordered their immediate release.
He claimed that the Federal Government had asked the Kaduna State government to prosecute the IMN leader and his wife after the federal court had ordered the duo’s release.
The human rights lawyer also asked the Federal Government through the AGF to respect all valid court orders regarding the detention of persons in line with Section 287 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The statement read: “However, we call on the Federal Government to release other political detainees and criminal suspects in line with valid and subsisting orders of courts.
“In particular, we request the Federal Government to liaise with the Kaduna State government to withdraw the charge filed against Sheikh Ibraheem Elzakzaky and his wife, Mrs Zeinat Elzakzaky who have been detained since December 14, 2015.
“The Federal High Court had on December 2, 2016 declared the detention of the couple illegal and unconstitutional and ordered the Federal Government to release them from custody forthwith.
“Apart from awarding them reparation of N50 million, the Federal High Court also ordered the Federal Government to provide them with a temporary accommodation since the Nigerian Army had destroyed their family house in Zaria.”
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Falana added: “By ordering the release of Colonel Dasuki pursuant to the orders of courts, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has jettisoned the reactionary position that national security takes precedence over the rule of law.
“Since the Buhari administration has now embraced the rule of law, Mr Malami should ensure that the valid and subsisting orders of all courts are obeyed in accordance with section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”