RELIEF came for members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as the Department of State Services (DSS) released their leader Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky to travel abroad for medical treatment. He was released last night
Justice Darius Khobo of Kaduna State High Court on Monday granted the Shiites’ leader and his wife Zeenat leave to travel to India for medical attention.
The DSS action was contained in a statement by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Peter Afunanya.
The statement reads: “This is to inform the public that the Department of State Services (DSS) has received the order granting Ibrahim El-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment.
“Consequently, the Service is liaising with relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance. Conformity with the order is in line with the Service’s avowed commitment to the Rule of Law inherent in a democracy.”
A top security source added: “All the conditions set by a High Court in Kaduna will be complied with. The top most condition is that he must return to Nigeria for trial.”
In granting the leave, the court said that El Zakzaky and his wife are to go on medical leave under the supervision or the state.
The IMN swiftly reacted to the ruling, saying, it was a favourable judgment, which is long overdue.
But the counsel to the state government and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dari Bayero said they may be appealing the ruling.
El Zakzaky and wife are facing an eight-count charge, including culpable homicide and public disturbance in connection with the December 2015 clashes between members of the IMN and soldiers in Zaria, which left many persons dead.
Lead counsel to the petitioner, Femi Falana SAN, had earlier filed application before Justice Darius Khobo’s Kaduna State High Court, seeking leave to allow his clients seek medical treatment abroad.
Subsequently, the application was adjourned till Monday for ruling.
Counsel to El-Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, while briefing reporters on the outcome of the court ruling said that what Zakzaky was granted was leave, and not bail.
Abubakar said: “We filed the application asking for leave to save the life of our clients, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife.
“The ruling came up and the court under Justice Darius Khobo graciously agreed with Mr. Femi Falana SAN and the various medical reports that were attached to the applications. There were eight medical reports that clearly show the applicants are in dire need of medical treatment abroad.
“The court agreed that they should be be allowed immediate treatment that they sort for and with supervision of the state.”
However, the state counsel, Bayero said, the state will study the ruling to see whether it will appeal the judgement or not.
Bayero said: “The context of the court ruling is that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are granted leave to travel out for urgent medical attention.
“The court looked through the medical reports filed and believed Mallam is indeed in dire need of medical attention. This is not a bail, but a leave to travel.”
Asked how long the leave would last, Bayero said: “Once he is discharged by the hospital he is referred to. So, as soon as his discharged from the hospital and he returns to the country, his trial will resume.
“The court has ruled and we are bound by the ruling of the court.”
Asked whether the IMN leader has choice to go to other hospital for the treatment apart from India, Bayero said, “Zakzaky specifically choose to go to the hospital in India.
“We will go and sit down and study the ruling and explore whether there is need for us to appeal. We have a month to go through that.”
However, the IMN in a statement issued shortly after the court ruling by Chairman, Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola, described the ruling as a victory for their dogged determination and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution.
The IMN statement reads: “Today (Monday 05/08/19), we obtained a favourable judgement in the ruling on application specifically seeking for the court’s permission to allow Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim to seek urgent medical treatment outside this country.
“This ruling is not only a vindication that leaving all doors open to obtain favourable outcomes works, but it is a victory for our dogged determination, patience and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
“As a result of all these physical and psychological stresses, the Sheikh suffered series of mild strokes and is at the risk of further recurrences.