The Presidency of Nigeria Friday said the case involving the leader of the Shiites, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, is no longer in the hands of the Federal Government.
“As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain,” President Muhammadu Buhari spokesman, Garba Shehu said in a statement on Friday.
“The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted everyday,” he added.
El-Zakzaky was charged with murder in April 2018. His alleged offence took place during the December 2015 clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and a convoy of Nigeria’s army chief, Tukur Buratai.
On Tuesday, July 10, some members of the sect again clashed with security agencies over the continued detention of their leader, El-Zakzaky.
The Shiites leader has remained incarcerated despite several court rulings ordering the President Buhari-led administration to release him.
Hundreds of the sect members stormed the National Assembly complex in Abuja at about 1:00 p.m. and engaged security operatives in a fierce confrontation. Having overpowered the personnel at the first gate, the protesters marched to the second gate in a bloody climax that claimed the life of a policeman and two sect members.
Some of the protesters allegedly snatched a gun from a policeman and opened fire. Security men were also said to have shot at the protesters.
But Shehu has insisted that the threatening bloodshed will lead nowhere because President Buhari will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free.
He said the court is expected to pass judgment on the leader who has remained in detention for over three years.
Shehu said the “issue of El-Zakzaky is before the court in Kaduna and his supporters should focus on his on-going trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.”
“The destruction of public property in the name of protest is not within the right of this group of Shiite members and no government anywhere would have tolerated a situation where any group would take over public roads in cities as they have done in Abuja and interfere with the rights of other citizens who are prevented from reaching their destinations,” he added.
He, however, appealed to the Shiite group to stop deliberate provocations that result in violence and fatalities and allow the trial of El-Zakzaky to take its course.