We Have No Hand In El-Zakzaky’s Trial – Presidency

The Presidency on Friday said it no longer has hands in the trial of embattled leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, while appealing to members of his movement to desist from violent protests asking for his release.

The Presidency, in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, said the court should be allowed to decide the IMN leader’s fate.

It warned against destruction of public property by protesting members of the movement, asking them not to interfere with the rights of other citizens.

“The Presidency appeals to El-Zakzaky-led 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 issue of El-Zakzaky is before the court in Kaduna and his supporters should focus on his on-going trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.

“It is wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time in order 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 behavior,” the statement said.

Shiites, Islamic Movement of Nigeria, new year, 2019
Protesting Shiite members (Photo credit: AP)

While harping on the fact that the Federal Government is no longer in charge of El-Zakzaky’s case, the statement stated that government can’t be said to have violated court orders as being alleged in some quarters.

“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 everyday.

“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 clearly 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 final outcome.

“The mentality that you are above the law and that your own rights are superior to other people’s rights is unacceptable.

“You can’t be provoking other citizens by interfering with their own 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,” the statement added.

The IMN leader and his wife, are facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges filed against them by the Kaduna state government.

They were first arraigned on May 15, 2018, following their arrest in Zaria, in December 2015.

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