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Obey judicial order on El-Zakzaky, lawyers tell government

By Godwin Dunia
Prominent legal practitioners, including former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, have enjoined the Federal Government to expeditiously implement the order of an Abuja Federal High Court asking for the unconditional release of detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as the Shiite sect, Sheikh Ibrahim E-Zakzaky and his wife, Malami Zeenat.

According to Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the constitution was explicit on procedures for detaining any citizen and as such, government must follow due process in executing that.

“No Nigerian security agent has the right to keep anybody under any form of custody without due process. For any reason, protective custody is under Decree 2,” he stressed.

Collaborating Agbakoba, another SAN and a senior partner with Afe Babalola Chambers, Olu Daramola, pointedly stated that the rule of law must prevail, because according to him, “as a citizen, El-Zakizaky is entitled to his freedom and if the Federal Government has any reasons why he should not be released, such should be presented before the court.

“I sympathised with the government which is facing the issue of Boko Haram and at the same time, the activities of the Shiites which may be anti-peace, but then, there are legitimate procedures in tackling or checkmating such negative trend.”

To Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), it is judicial pronouncement that takes precedent over any other considerations and as such, it is binding on the government to obey the order.

Former Ikeja, Lagos NBA chairman, Monday Ubani, also warned government against the consequences of disobeying the order. According to him: “If they fail, then there could be a contempt of court against the Federal Government and this is not the best for the government at this crucial time.

“If the court of the land has given its decision on any issue, it must be obeyed.”Also, Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, affirmed the need for the order to be obeyed.