The Presidency yesterday reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari will not order the judiciary to release the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, because he lacks the powers to do so. This is just as it declined comment on whether the government was considering proscription of the sect as done to the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in 2017.
Members of the IMN (Shiites) have been staging protests across the country following the continued detention of El-Zakzaky who was arrested with his wife in December 2015 after a violent clash with the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Contacted on the latest decision on the group, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the federal government’s position on the matter hasn’t changed. “There is no latest that I know of. Government’s position hasn’t changed. El-Zakzaky is in the custody of the Kaduna State government. They are trying him in court for several alleged offenses. The Federal Ministry of Justice is not in this, President Buhari has no hand it. “The constitution of Nigeria does not give the president power to stop investigations and trials, he can pardon upon conviction. On the El-Zakzaky issue, this whole thing is in the domain of Kaduna State. If only they know,” he said. Previously, the presidency had said the group was wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time in order to get justice for an accused.