Lack of access to Shiites’ Leader El-Zakzaky stalls enquiry

Posted by News Express | 14 March 2016 | 3,028 times

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The inability of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and their lawyers to have access to their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, detained by the Department for State Security Service, has again stalled the proceedings of the Commission of Enquiry.

The commission is investigating the December 12 clash between the group and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At its resumed sitting on Monday, Counsel to the commission, Yunusa Ustaz, said that all attempts made so far by him and counsels to the movement through the offices of the Attorney General of the Federal and that of Kaduna State to meet with Sheik El-Zakzaky where he is being detained in Abuja were unsuccessful.

Mr Ustaz said the tight schedule of the Attorney General of the Federation made the desired meeting with El-Zakzaky difficult.

He pleaded for more time in order to enable them have access to El-Zakzaky before the next adjourned date.

However, counsel to the Shiites, raised concerns over the busy schedule of the Attorney General of the Federation, saying he could easily assign such responsibilities to another top official in the ministry of justice.

Since the commission commenced sitting on February 22, members of the Islamic Movement have refused to submit their memorandum to the commission on the ground that they must be allowed to see their leader before they would do so.

In order to give all parties fair hearing, the chairman of the commission, Justice Mohammed Garba, had during the last sitting mandated both the Attorney General of the Federation and that of Kaduna State to facilitate the access to Sheik El-Zazaky with his lawyers and some of his members.

Before ruling on the submissions made by both Mr Ustaz and the counsel to Shiites, Maxwell Kyon, members of the commission held a closed-door meeting for over two hours to enable them reach a decision on the submissions made by both counsels.

While the meeting lasted, the General Officer Commanding One Division, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, who is representing the Nigerian Army along with some senior officers, and journalists waited patiently.

At the end of the closed door meeting, Justice Garba in his ruling granted the request by counsel to the commission for more time to enable them have access to leader of the Shiites.

He, however, adjourned sitting till Monday, March 21, for hearing where the army and other interested parties are expected to make their presentations.

The commission has so far spent four out of the six weeks given to it by the Kaduna State government to complete its assignment.

It is hoped that by the next adjourned date, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria would have met with their leader to enable them file their submissions. (Channels TV)

•Photo shows El-Zazaky after arrest by the Nigerian Army in December 2015.

Source: News Express

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