20180516

Murder Charge: Zakzaky taken to court amid tight security

Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky was yesterday taken before a Kaduna High Court with heavy security.

El Zakzaky, who was in the court with his wife as early as 8:30a.m, was allegedly smuggled into Kaduna the previous night from where he was being kept.

He was being charged for unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide punishable with death.

Speaking to reporters, El Zakzaky’s counsel, Maxwell Kyom, said the case could not continue because two of the defendants were not in court.

He said an oral application was moved for bail for the cleric and his wife, but the judge, Justice Gideon Kurada, asked him to put his application in writing.

Reporters and sympathisers of the Shiites leader trooped to the court premises but were barred from entering as the major roads leading to the court were condoned off.

From the Yakubu Gowon Way by Bida road, two Hilux belonging to Kaduna State security outfit, ‘Operation Yaki’, blocked the road and pedestrians who are not court’s workers were turned away.

A leader of the Shiites sect in Kaduna, Mallam Abdulhameed Bello, said El Zakzaky was forcefully brought to Kaduna a night before the hearing.

According to him, members of the movement were disappointed for his re-arraignment because in a substantive suit before an Abuja High Court, the court ruled that he should be released unconditionally.

Bello added that the cleric was losing his sight as well as suffering from diabetes and mild stroke.

“We call on the Federal and Kaduna State governments to as a matter of urgency obey the judgment of the Abuja court and release the Sheikh for peace to reign.

“We as a movement will continue to use all peaceful means to put pressure on the government to see reason and allow Sheikh El Zakzaky to go home and attend to his deteriorating health,” he said.

The case was adjourned to June 21, by Justice Kurada based on application by the prosecutor for them to properly file their statement of claim.