We are holding Shiite Leader, El-Zakzaky, in his own interest– DSS

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, gave reasons why the detained leader of the Shi’ite Islamic sect, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, would not be released from detention. It told the court that Zakzaky was on December 14, 2015, taken into protective custody by the Department of State Services, DSS, following an intelligence report that he was going to be attacked and killed.

FG, which made the disclosure while responding to a N2 billion fundamental rights enforcement suit the detained Islamic leader filed through his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, said it kept the applicant in detention to avoid the circumstance that made the Boko Haram sect to turn violent in 2009. “It is common knowledge that it was after the extra-judicial killing of the former leader of the Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, in police custody that the group which prior to that, had operated quietly just like the Islamic Movement of Nigeria members, metamorphosed into a full blown terrorist group plaguing the country and has killed thousands of people in various attacks. “That up till this present time, despite the efforts of the Nigerian Army to quell the activities of this deadly group, the North Eastern part of Nigeria has been rendered unsafe as terrifying activities of Boko Haram in that area which involves killing, kidnapping, bombing, etc, has turned the indigenes of these communities into displaced persons who now live in camps around the country in the most deplorable conditions. “That the 1st respondent believe that if the applicant, who is the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, one of the largest Islamic groups in the country, is allowed to be killed as revealed in the security report, the country may be plunged into another Boko Haram crisis which was what necessitated the remand of the applicant in protective custody until it can be ascertained that he is no longer in such danger”, FG stated in a 13-paragraphed counter-affidavit dated June 9. Besides, FG, via the counter-affidavit deposed by one Ayodeji Ibitoye, an operative in the Legal Services Department of the DSS, told the court that in order to save the applicant’s life, he was evacuated to the medical facility of the Service. It said the applicant was being attended to by “best doctors around”, saying the treatment has gulped “millions of naira at the expense of the state”. “That the applicant is in protective custody to shield them from residents of Zaria, particularly their neighbours in Gyallesu who have vowed to avenge the oppression and agony the applicant and his followers subjected them to over the years. “That members of the Nigeria Supreme council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has come to see the applicant”, FG added. Meantime, Justice Gabriel Kolawole has fixed July 23 to hear the substantive suit.

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