CHARGE IBRAHIM ZAKZAKY TO COURT NOW OR RELEASE HIM.

 

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. It is common knowledge that this blog is an advocacy platform and from time to time we talk about issues that affect us as Nigerians. Today, my headache is the treatment of the shiite Muslims and prolonged detention of Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky.

Don’t just read, start a conversation.

There is no nice way to say this; the Nigerian government under the present administration has shown little or no regard for the rule of law and the rights of the average Nigerian.

Last week, I commented casually that Nigeria is the place where Human Rights go to die. We are living a nightmare because a country where the lives of citizens do not matter, where human rights are sacrificed on the altar of authoritarianism and self-aggrandizement is living in the dark and its citizen are bound to end up in a ditch.

I am seriously bothered by the situation of things with the Shiite Muslims, what I see is oppression of a defenseless sect, some form of government approved ill treatment and a blatant disregard for human rights and liberties.

I generally do not like the Nigerian approach to issues, a small business breaks a regulation, ban it! You don’t like a group of people/ their activities, wipe the off the face of the earth! I thought we had moved on from the Nigeria that tried to wipe off a whole ethnic group just because they dared to secede.

If a government will not do the right thing of their own accord, it is not out of place for citizens to demand change. (Not the kind you people demanded in 2015)

Therefore, this piece is not to plead with the Nigerian government to do the right thing. I am placing a demand on the appropriate authorities; the constitution must be upheld above all else.

I demand that Ibrahim El Zakzaky be charged to court if the relevant law enforcement authority deems it so, I demand that he be allowed to enjoy fair trial, I demand that if the law enforcement agency in charge does not have enough to charge him to court, he must be released immediately.

per the provision of Section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law –

(a) In execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;

(b) by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;

(c) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence;

(d) in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years for the purpose of his education or welfare;

(e) in the case of persons suffering from infectious or contagious disease, persons of unsound mind, persons addicted to drugs or alcohol or vagrants, for the purpose of their care or treatment or the protection of the community; or

(f) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of any person into Nigeria or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nigeria of any person or the taking of proceedings relating thereto:

Provided that a person who is charged with an offence and who has been detained in lawful custody awaiting trial shall not continue to be kept in such detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed for the offence.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that it is wrong for law enforcement agents to arrest and detain a suspect for more than ten months without charging him to court.

It seems to me that the method of Nigerian law enforcement in this matter is to handle an alleged offender of the law by offending the law?

In a modern civil society, the rule of law must prevail always. The constitution must be the guideline; it must be the basis upon which we operate.

I would like to call the attention of the Nigerian government to section 35 (4) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, which states;

4) Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of –

(a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; or

(b) three months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.

(5) In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable time” means –

(a) in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period of one day; and

(b) in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.

Whomever it is that has Ibrahim EL Zakzaky in custody must show proof that he is not entitled to bail or that the court of law where he is to be charged is located on Mars; only this fact can justify this dastardly act of detaining a person for over 10 months without any recourse to law or due process.

I have to say that the blatant disregard for the constitution is a cause for alarm. I am beginning to think that the present government is just confused and I am willing to help them reconnect with the law and the spirit of Nigeria as regards human rights.

5) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty;

Provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts.

(6) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to –

(a) Be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence;

(b) Be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

(c) Defend himself in person or by legal practitioners of his own choice;

(d) Examine, in person or by his legal practitioners, the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court or tribunal and obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court or tribunal on the same conditions as those applying to the witnesses called by the prosecution; and

(e) Have, without payment, the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial of the offence.

I have taken the pain to quote the relevant sections in this piece because I genuinely that the Nigerian law enforcement is having a hard time understanding the provisions of the law as regards arrests and prosecution of suspects.

Until a court of law pronounces Ibrahim El Zakzaky guilty, he is innocent and must be released as shown in the provisions of the constitution stated above.

The army has since claimed that the detained Shiite leader has been transferred to the “appropriate authority” for prosecution, why then has he not been charged to court? Why has he not been admitted to bail and why is he allegedly being hidden from his family members and sect members who have tried to visit him?

I do not want to delve into other issues that have me perturbed, and I do not want to speak of the killing and maiming which has somehow fallen on the deaf ears of the government.

The same people who swore to protect us now turn a deaf ear and a convenient blind eye to the predicaments of the people, the rule of law has been shut out and the constitution disregarded.

4) Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of –

(a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; or

(b) three months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.

(5) In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable time” means –

(a) in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period of one day; and

(b) in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.

In the light of the foregoing,

CHARGE SHEIK IBRAHIM EL ZAKZAKY TO COURT OR RELEASE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY AS PROVIDED BY THE CONSTITUTION.

very-vocal

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