KADUNA State government intends to continue the secret trial of Shiite leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife early next year after a high court adjourned the hearing until January 25 and 26 2021.
Sheikh El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been in detention since December 2015 after being arrested following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian Army. While in detention, however, his health has deteriorated, with the sheikh said to have lost one eye and he is also reported to have suffered several mild strokes, leading to calls for his release.
Despite his deteriorating condition, the Kaduna State government is insistent on getting the sheikh convicted and has pursued a secret trial of the cleric. Yesterday, Justice Gideon Kurada of the Kaduna High Court adjourned the trial until January next year following the admission of six witnesses tendered by the prosecution counsel led by Dari Bayero.
IMN spokesman Ibrahim Musa said that the state presented two army officers who testified in secret before Justice Kurada, while a director from the Department of State Security Services, was among the four witnesses that were admitted. He added that the others were residents of Gyallesu where the sheikh lived before the army’s attack in December, 2015.
Mr Bayero promised the court to produce the remaining witnesses including a general officer commanding a division of the Nigerian Army when the hearing resumes next year. Kaduna State government has charged Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah with eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace among other charges, to which they both pleaded not guilty.