Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shiites, have criticised Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over his comments on the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and some other members of the sect.
They faulted the Vice President, who had said the failure of the Federal Government to free El-Zakzaky after a court had ordered his release was because the Federal Government had appealed the court judgment.
The spokesperson of the Shiites, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement on Saturday, argued that it was unfortunate that Osinbajo, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, could justify such “contempt of court.”
The group added that the government’s action was a gross abuse of the legal process.
Musa said, “The Vice President knows quite well that an appeal against a lower court judgment does not justify its disobedience without suspension by a superior court.”
Consequently, the group urged Osinbajo to ensure that the leader of the group is released without further delay, noting that the case of the continued detention of their leader and his wife is the worst form of human rights violation in history.
“It is the height of impunity that has ever been committed by a democratic government in this country, to detain without a court order and without charges for 15 months.
“It is even worse when a court has ordered the release of such a person, and the government still contemptuously holds him.
“Even previously, under a military dictatorship headed by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, nobody was detained without an order made, pursuant to a decree, the States Security Detention of Persons Decree Number 2 of 1984.
“Nobody was detained without an order made by the detaining authority.
“Today, there is no such law. So, our case should not be worse under a democratic dispensation as against what occurred in that military junta,” the group said.
Musa added, “It is both curious and ridiculous that the VP, not only because of his professional calling, but also as a SAN, would justify contempt of court on mere appeal of a judgment without a contrary ruling or stay of execution order by a superior court.”
The group reiterated their call for the Federal Government to release their leader and his wife, as ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“We also call for the immediate release of hundreds of IMN members languishing in Kaduna prison and many detention centres across the country,” the Shiites added.