By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
It is now almost two months since Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, abruptly returned from a hospital in New Delhi, India, citing the prison-like condition of the ward and suspicions that doctors had foul play on their minds on the orders of the U.S., but there are no news where he has been interned this time by the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, which continues to disobey the Federal Court’s order on the immediate release of the venerable Sheikh, whose unlawful detention is nearing four years.
Nigeria’s rapidly growing population of ten millions Shi’a Muslims, despite persecution by the pro-Zionist and pro-Wahhabi Buhari, are however, determined that justice should prevail in the country and their leader freed from prison.
Their hopes were raised recently by the statement of the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, who said that henceforward the rule of the law should be observed by all, including the government.
Citizens, whether Muslim, Christian or Animist, are interpreting this statement as a wakeup call for the government which has continued its flagrant disobedience of the Supreme Court’s orders.
They say that any act that tramples the citizens’ fundamental rights and is defiance of the Court’s verdict, is a mockery of the Nigerian constitution, including the case of the detainees whose release has been ordered, such as IMN Leader Sheikh Zakzaky, former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore of the ‘Revolution Now’ protest, and ex National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
It is interesting to note that in his recent statement Chief Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed said: "The rule of law must be observed in all our dealings and we must impress it on the government at all levels to actively toe the path. The right of every citizen against any form of oppression and impunity must be jealously guarded and protected with the legal tools at our disposal. All binding court orders must be obeyed. Nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgements. As we all know, flagrant disobedience of court orders or non-compliance with judicial orders is a direct invitation to anarchy in the society.”
He added: "Such acts are completely antithetical to the rule of law in a democratic environment, and will not be tolerated under my watch as Chief Justice of Nigeria.”
Brave words indeed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. He must put into practice the constitutional laws of the country which President Buhari is openly violating by disobeying the Court orders and saying the rule of law must be subjected to the supremacy of his regime’s security interest.
It should be noted that Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, along with his wife, and several followers, continues to be in prison, despite his worsening health conditions, ever since the illegal detention by the army in Zaria on 15th December 2015.
Unable to bring any criminal charges against him, the regime later accused him of incitement to murder, but no trial has ever taken place. Moreover, these charges have been dismissed by the Supreme Court which in 2016 ordered the immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and followers.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja on 2nd December, 2016, delivered a judgement directing the Sheikh’s release, but the order was never obeyed while the couple’s bail application remained pending before the court, until fresh charges of murder were levelled against them.
In related news, several senior Nigerian lawyers have also demanded that the government ensure strict observance of the rule of law. The lawyers condemned the Buhari administration’s penchant for disobeying court orders, describing it as nothing but an invitation to anarchy.
They have referred to the independence of the Judiciary from the Executive Branch, saying: "When we are talking about the independence of the judiciary, it means the judiciary should assert itself. When court orders are made, they must be obeyed and if they are not obeyed, it portends dangerous precedence.”
In view of these developments in Nigeria, can we expect President Buhari to obey the laws and release the detainees, including Sheikh Zakzaky, instead of clashing with the Chief Justice?
The coming days will provide the answer, whether or not Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed has the resolve and power to force Buhari to obey the laws and release the detainees.
Meanwhile, with the approach of Arba’een, or the traditional 40th day ceremony following the anniversary of the heartrending tragedy of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), the Shi’a Muslims of Nigeria remain undaunted, and are determined to observe their religious rite in public for paying tribute to the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), no matter the pro-Zionist and pro-Wahhabi regime of Buhari resorts to more bloodshed of the innocents.