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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Kaduna Court frees leader of Shi’ites in Nigeria, El-Zakzaky, wife

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A Kaduna High Court has discharged and acquitted leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat.

The IMN leader and his wife stood trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, among other criminal charges since December 2018 following a clash between his followers and convoy of former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a retired Lt-General in Zaria in December 2015.

The Court had fixed July 28 for ruling in the no-case submission filed by Zakzaky.

Justice Gideon Kurada had fixed the date after the prosecution and counsel to the defendants, addressed the court on the no-case submission prayer.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday after the secret trial, counsel to Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, said the court upheld their no-case submission and agreed the case lacks merit.

“The trial of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibraheem has come to an end today. The court has upheld our no-case submission.

“The court found that the charges that were filed in the year 2018 pursuant to a penal law enacted by the Kaduna state government in 2017 over offenses allegedly committed in 2015 is ab-initio.

“The court ruled that the charge ought not to be in the first place. Because you cannot arraign a man for an offence that was already committed as at the time the said crime was not an offence. And the Court was very emphatic on that.

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“Yes, the Kaduna State government has powers to enact laws but they cannot enact law to prosecute an offence prospectively. That is the first ground on which the court held that, that charge was incompetent.

“On another footing, the no case submission we filed in court. The court agreed with us that the trial lacked merits. That the prosecution only came to court to tell stories that are at cross variance with the offences that were alleged in the charges.

“The court agreed with us that, El-Zakzaky and his wife have committed no offence.

“The Court however discharged and acquitted El-Zakzaky and his wife. It said there should not have been any charge against El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat in the first place,” Abubakar said.

The IMN leader was whisked out of the court in the same vehicle with his Lead Counsel, Femi Falana after the judgement that lasted for close to eight hours.

Though Zakzaky and his wife could not be accessed for interview by journalists, the IMN in a statement, reacting to the judgement said the ruling has proven that the Islamic Movement and its leader, are only victims of ‘impunity and mischievous plots’ by both Federal and Kaduna governments.

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