The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have asked the Kaduna State High Court in Kaduna to quash the charges of murder of a soldier instituted against them by the state government.
In the application filed on their behalf by their lawyers, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and Marshal Abubakar, the defendants urged the court to dismiss the eight counts for being an abuse of court process.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested by the army and handed over to the Department of State Services after a bloody clash between soldiers in the entourage of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna State on December 12, 2015.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were detained by the DSS for over two years without charges, until April 2018 when the Kaduna State Government eventually filed eight counts against the IMN leader, his wife and two others said to be at large.
But the defendants’ ill health, which warranted their botched medical trip to India last year, has since stalled their arraignment.
But their lawyers, in urging the court to dismiss all the eight counts, argued that Count 1 “in its entirety is violative of Section 36 (8) and (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) same being an abuse of court process and/ or devoid of proof of evidence or a disclosure of the offences and/ or failure to link the 1st and 2nd defendants respectively to the offences purportedly charged.”
In the affidavit filed in support of the application, the deponent, Muhammad Zakzaky, who described himself as the sect leader’s surviving son, said his three brothers were killed in the December 12, 2015, clash.
He further said, “That I know as a fact that all the members of the Shia-Islamic faith, who were arrested, arraigned and tried in connection with the happenings of December 12, 2015, have been discharged and acquitted. Attached hereto and marked exhibits 4, 5, 6 7 and 8 are various court judgments and rulings of this honourable court.
“That there is no member of the Shia Islamic faith that is standing trial today as all the persons who were arrested and tried in connection with the December 12, 2015, incident has been discharged and acquitted.”