Court orders release of Nigerian Shia chief, wife
By: Rafiu Ajakaye
ABUJA, Nigeria: A court on Friday ordered the release of Nigeria’s
top Shia leader and his wife, saying that government holding them in
a protective custody for nearly a year is contrary to the nation's
Ibrahim El-Zakzaky El-Zakzaky’s attorneys had challenged the
couple’s detention since December 13, 2015 following the army's
crackdown on the Shia in the group's northwestern Zaria
The crackdown, precipitated by what army claimed to be the group's
assassination attempt on army chief Tukur Buratai, led to the brutal
killing of at least 343 Shia members and the demolition of their
religious headquarters along with El-Zakzaky’s residence.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole dismissed the government's objections to
the suit and ordered that El-Zakzaky and his wife be freed and
handed to the police “within the next 45 days.” He also ordered that
they be paid over $80,000 apiece as compensation while government
provides them with a home until their house is fixed.
“I have not been shown any report or complaints lodged by residents
from the applicant’s neighborhood to show he has become a nuisance
to them,” the judge ruled, rejecting the government’s claim of the
Shia chief being a security risk.
In what seemed a tacit reference to how Boko Haram went from a
clerical movement to a full-blown violent group, the judge said
keeping El-Zakzaky in custody could result in his death and his
group wanting to avenge the loss.
Shia faithful hailed the ruling, which is open to appeal up to the
Supreme Court, as a triumph of the rule of law. The government has
yet to comment.
The December 2015 incident led to the northwestern Kaduna state,
home to Shia headquarters, banning the group. A few other northern
states have also outlawed any procession linked to the group.
"Knowledge is better than wealth because it protects you while
you have to guard wealth. it decreases if you keep on spending
it but the more you make use of knowledge ,the more it increases
. what you get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth
disappears but what you achieve through knowledge will remain
even after you."MORE