The Federal Government has been advised to transfer the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky to house arrest in Kaduna, instead of his continuous incarceration in DSS custody in Abuja.
Doing this, The Muslim Congress (TMC) believes, will put an end to the restiveness and continuous violent protests embarked on by the members of the group, who have been calling for the release of their leader and his wife, Zeenah.
This was the view of the faith-based organisation during her quarterly State of the Nation press conference in Lagos, where they also addressed other pertinent issues of national importance, including the RUGA suspension, the Senator Elisha Abbo assault, recurrent pipeline explosions, and the ISI Hijab saga.
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has been in detention since the confrontation between the group’s members and the Nigerian Army in December 2015, where scores lost their lives.
Following series of court orders calling for his release, the Federal Government has remained adamant and kept him in custody.
The Secretary General of the TMC, Ustadh Abdul Wasi’ Bamgbala said, following the protests embarked on by the members of the IMN in Abuja, Kaduna and recently in Lagos, it becomes necessary for the Federal Government to avert more crisis by releasing their leader and placing him under house arrest in Kaduna, his home state.
Ustadh Bamgbala said, “Without diminishing the fact that public security supercedes personal freedom, we urge the government to release the IMN leader from DSS detention and place him under house arrest in a safe and protected house in Kaduna, where some of his members can have limited access to him.
“Though some courts have ordered the release of the Islamic leader, the Federal Government has affirmed its position that it is keeping him in protective custody in order to ensure his personal safety and to protect public peace.”
“But in recent times, the renewed agitations by members of the group for the release of their leader have led to protests in Kaduna and Abuja, and then in the South-West in Lagos.
“These protests, which are becoming violent and leading to loss of lives, need to be pro-actively addressed.
“While the Federal Government is duty-bound to ensure and enforce public security, the IMN leader also has rights to personal freedom as pronounced by the courts.
“We believe this will douse the restiveness of its members and reduce the insecurity in the land till the situation is permanently resolved. Otherwise, he should be charged to court to defend himself against any offence he may have committed”, Bamgbala added.
Asked why El-Zakyzaky should not be released but put under house arrest, the TMC lawyer, Barrister Munirdeen Adekunle said it is to avoid the Nnamdi Kanu scenario, who fled the country after he was granted bail and released from Kuje prison following violent agitations from his followers, similar to what the Shiites are currently doing.
According to Barrister Adekunle, unfortunately, immediately after Kanu’s release, he fled the country and till date, his whereabouts are unknown and members of his proscribed IPOB are still causing havoc in the SouthEast.
“As long as we want the court judgement to be respected by the Federal Government, it is equally important that we all know that there is no absolute right anywhere in the world, especially when it involves national security.
“Those international human rights groups calling for Zakyzaky’s release would never condone such violent groups in their countries. This is a violent group running a republic inside another republic and their activities are threats to public peace.
“But in the interest of peace, we call on the Federal Government to release him from DSS custody in Abuja and put him under house arrest in Kaduna where his members would have access to him,” he added.