JUSTICE minister Abubakar Malami has revealed that Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has not been released from custody because his case is being handled by the Kaduna State government.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari instructed the Department of State Security (DSS) to immediately release Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore and former national security adviser Col Sambo Dasuki from custody immediately. Both men were being detained by the DSS despite having won court orders for their release.
However, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, Nigeria’s other high profile political prisoner was not released as part of the deal. According to Mr Malami, Nigeria’s attorney-general and justice minister, the sheikh could not be released as his case is being handled by the Kaduna State government and not the federal government
Speaking on the Hausa Service of the BBC, Mr Malami said Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s case was being prosecuted by the Kaduna State government and as such, the federal government would not interfere. He added: “The federal government won’t interfere in a judicial process that is solely responsible for the state government to take charge of.”
Mr Malami further advised Messrs Sowore and Dasuki to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial. He added that the government will comply with court orders from henceforth.
“My office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts. I wish to reiterate again the utmost regard of my office for the entire judicial structure of Nigeria and this administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general,” Mr Malami added.