From Noah Ebije and Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) went into wild jubilation, yesterday, after a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada freed their embattled leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Elzakzaky and his wife, Zeenat Elzakzaky.
Elzakzaky and his wife had arrived at the Kaduna High Court at about 9:08am, yesterday, for ruling on a no-case submission amid tight security.
The court ordered their immediate release at about 5pm from the correctional facility, where they had been kept for some few years.
The IMN leader and his wife were standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide and unlawful assembly, among other criminal charges, since December 2015, following a clash between his followers and the convoy of the then Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, in Zaria.
Briefing journalists shortly after the court session, one of the Counsels to El-zazaky, Marshal Abubakar, said: “The trial of El-zazaky and his wife, Zeenat, has come to an end. The court has, indeed, upheld our no case submission that was filed in 2018.
“While looking at our no case submission, the court agreed with us that the trial is a charade and incompetent. The court also agreed with us that El-zazaky and his wife committed no offence.”
It was gathered that El-zazaky and his wife had appeared in court for 27 times both in Kaduna and Abuja, in the course of their trial since 2015. The Court had earlier fixed July 28 for ruling in the No-case-submission filed by Zakzaky.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, has described yesterday’s court judgement as “a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.”
In a statement made available to journalists, Musa further said: “With this victory in court, today, (yesterday) the false charges filed against them have finally been punctured for good after almost five years of excruciating illegal detention.
“This judgement has not only vindicated them and all members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution by the Nigerian government. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
“It will be recalled that the Kaduna state government filed charges against Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife as an afterthought a year and a half after a federal high court in Abuja had ruled that their continued detention was unconstitutional, illegal and a severe breach of their fundamental rights and, thereby, must be set free and compensated.
“The government, however, remained in contempt until they decided to frame these spurious false charges in an attempt to perpetually keep them in their illegal custody.
“We, therefore, give praises to the Almighty for yet another successful outing, which further proves to the world that the Islamic Movement and its leader are only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by both the Buhari-led Federal Government and the El-Rufai-led Kaduna state government. Since both governments have again failed in court after a fair trial, we expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to release them with immediate effect.
“We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organisations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide for the past five years.”