Those expecting to see the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMAN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky will have to wait for a longer period as the Nigerian government on Thursday outlined the obstacles to the release of the sheik.
In an interview with journalists in Abuja, a Presidency official who did not want to be named said the “major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution as amended was public and not individual security.
“The issue of the release of Zak zaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertone.
“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any other individual claim of right.
“The federal government is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions into consideration,” the official said.
On the said detention of the religious leader’s wife along side her husband, the official stated that El-Zakzaky’s wife was not of any security interest and therefore was merely keeping her husband company in the apartment in which he is kept.
“She is not under detention. If it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMAN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours,” he asserted.
He explained that El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the Department of Security Services, DSS beside her husband with bullet wounds following IMAN’s encounter with the army.
“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for him. Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened.”
Justice Gabriel Kolawole had given judgment in favour of Zakzaky and ordered that he and his wife be released. He also ordered that they be paid damages for being detained illegally.
The same arguments being raised y the Presidency were raised before the trial Judge but the court found them unsubstantiated and rejected them.