A Kaduna state high court sitting in the state capital has ordered the transfer of the embattled leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), better known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife from the custody of the DSS to a correctional centre in the state.
Ruling on Thursday, the trial judge, Justice Gideon Kudafa, stated that the decision to remand the IMN leader and his wife in a correctional facility is to enable their lawyers and doctors to have easy access to them.
He thereafter adjourned the case to February the 6th for the commencement of trial.
The IMN leader is facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges.
The trial judge, Justice Gideon Kudafa had on March 26 adjourned the case indefinitely following his appointment as a member of the Election Petition Tribunal in Yobe State.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were not in court during the last proceedings, although their counsel, Femi Falana, claimed that their absence was due to their deteriorated health conditions.
He and his wife (Zeenat) were denied bail by the presiding judge during the last sitting on January 22, 2018.
In the application for bail filed by El Zakzaky’s lawyer, Femi Falana, on his behalf at the last sitting, the legal practitioner prayed the court to give a mandatory order for his client and his wife to be flown abroad.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, informed the court that this was to enable them to receive proper medical attention since the Federal Government had glaringly failed to cure them of the injuries they sustained during the alleged army’s onslaught on their residence in December 2015.
The judge in his ruling, however, ordered that El Zakzaky be allowed by the government to bring doctors of his choice to examine him in the presence of doctors from the government before the date of the next sitting.
With the absence of the trial judge, Counsel to the IMN leader, Falana filed a fresh application at another court of equal jurisdiction on July 18 asking it to grant his clients leave to seek medical attention abroad and thereafter return for the continuation of their trial.
Justice Darius Khobo granted the application, asking the government to release Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat for medical treatment in India, stressing that they should be accompanied by the officials of the State government and personnel of the Department of State Security (DSS).
However, El-Zakzaky and his wife came back to Nigeria from India without receiving the said medical treatment, alleging government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court as the direct cause of the impasse.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested in December 2015 after some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state.