The Federal Government of Nigeria has denied involvement in the continued detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakaky and his wife despite numerous court orders for his release discarded by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
In a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, the Presidency says the issue of El-ZakZaky was before the court in Kaduna, urging his supporters to focus on his ongoing trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.”
The Federal Government called on Shiite members to desist from needless violent street protests and await the decision of the court in Kaduna where their leader is currently being tried.
The statement reads in part, “It is wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time to get justice for anybody accused.
“The destruction of public property in the name of protest is not within the right of this group of Shiite members and no government anywhere would have tolerated a situation where any group would take over public roads in cities as they have done in Abuja and interfere with the rights of other citizens who are prevented from reaching their destinations.
“We imagine a situation where families are taking their loved ones to hospital for emergency treatment and they are held up needlessly by the protesters. No government anywhere in the world would turn a blind eye to this unlawful behaviour.
“As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain. The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted every day.”
Shehu added that the open protest was an embarrassment to the President which will lead nowhere.
“These rallies and street dances ostensibly to openly insult the President and other leaders, threatening bloodshed will lead nowhere because President Buhari will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free. At the same time, the administration is determined to enforce the decision of the court issued. The Buhari administration has absolutely no hand in the on-going court case and the courts are free to determine the bail request and the outcome.
“The mentality that you are above the law and that your rights are superior to other people’s rights is unacceptable.
“You can’t be provoking other citizens by interfering with their rights on public roads and disrupting their businesses and call it democratic freedom. In democratic traditions, their rights end where the rights of others begin.
“Law-abiding citizens must avoid deliberate lawlessness. It is not within the rights of any group to enter protected public institutions such as the National Assembly by force to attack police and destroy public and private property.
“It is always advisable to embrace dialogue and eschew violence in all our actions so that we can continue to live together in peace.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Shiite group to stop deliberate provocations that result in violence and fatalities and allow the trial of El-ZakZaky to take its course.”