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Shi’ites NASS Invasion

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Shi’ites NASS Invasion . by janga12(m): 12:44am on July 14
Punch Editorial Board

A serious security breach occurred at the National Assembly on Tuesday with its invasion by members of an Islamic sect, Shi’ites, protesting the Federal Government’s continued detention of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, despite a court order for his release. They reportedly seized the service gun of one of the police officers at the gate with which they shot two officers, vandalised the gate, burnt two vehicles and smashed others. The wounded police personnel are receiving treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja. Out of the 40 suspects arrested by the police, 38 were arraigned before a Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

On July 4, they had marched to the parliament and were received by a member of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, on behalf of the leadership. The lawmaker addressed them and promised to get back to them, even before they could reach their various destinations. In a statement signed by Abdullahi Musa, of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ites), more than 148 hours had passed since this interface “and no response, neither from him nor from any other person amongst his colleagues.” Last Tuesday, they returned and unleashed violence. This is condemnable. They over-reached themselves, abused their right to free assembly or protest – a veritable civic culture of democracy guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. The Shi’ites protesters re-emerged in Lagos on Thursday.

This was not the first time members of the IMN would storm the Federal Capital Territory or exude such violent tendency to press for their leader’s release. A clash with a Nigerian Army convoy in Abuja in October 2018 was ghastly. They “smashed civilian vehicles windscreens and windows; and they also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting,” the Army authorities said.

The crux of all this is the incarceration of el-Zakzaky since December 2015, when IMN members blocked the Kaduna-Zaria Road during one of their religious symbolic treks. By so doing, they held the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, hostage. Pleas by security details for them to clear the road went unheeded. The resultant clash led to the alleged death of a soldier.


Incensed by their audacity, the soldiers invaded the venue where the IMN members gathered and the abode of el-Zakzaky in Zaria. Many of his followers were killed; while he was arrested along with his wife, Zeenat. The Army only acknowledged a few deaths but the sect accused them of mass murder of their members who were hurriedly buried. Amnesty International, one of the bodies critical of the Army’s high-handed response, put the number of Shi’ites murdered at 350. “Amnesty International has uncovered a site, which we believe is where hundreds of people were buried,” it said in one of its reports.

On Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, unlawful detention has become the order of the day. To enforce his right under the law, the incarcerated Islamic cleric, through his lawyer, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, approached an Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Gabriel Kolawole, and urged it to declare that his continued detention without trial was unlawful and demanded his release. The court did just that on December 2, 2016. It ordered not just his release within 45 days to the police, but also awarded N25 million damages each, in favour of him and his wife. This was a year after he was detained.

It is now two and a half years since this judgement was given and three and a half years since the cleric has been unlawfully held by the state. The Buhari government’s action is the height of impunity in a democracy, violence to our Constitution and abuse of the rule of law. It is a cause celebre that should be alien to democracy and civil order. The action should no longer be tolerated. Our law prescribes that no citizen should be held for more than 48 hours without being charged and tried for an alleged offence.

The argument of the State Security Service that the cleric is “being kept under a protective custody” is fatuous and indefensible. In the United Kingdom, security and intelligence agencies are subject to oversight by ordinary courts. The UK Supreme Court ruled in May that government security decisions could not be exempted from legal action. The court said, “It is ultimately for the courts, not the legislature, to determine the limits set by the rule of law to the power to exclude review.”

But El-Zakzaky is not alone; the ordeal of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, which predates the former’s, adds to the list of cases this administration has used to make nonsense of the rule of law. According to Falana, there are other 40 Nigerians being unlawfully detained by the Nigerian Navy. The US Department of State 2018 Human Rights Report on Nigeria states that detainees were denied due process and subjected to arbitrary and indefinite detention in conditions that remained harsh and life threatening. AI reported that citizens were generally not able to access any information about the fate or welfare of family members in military detention. This is awful.

El-Zakzaky and others in unlawfully detention should be released without further delay. The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), a proponent of the rule of law, who has received Falana’s petition on this matter, should bring his influence to bear on this quest for justice and what is right. Both the Senate and the House, whose members were jolted by the Shi’ites’ splenetic volley, as they could have been victims too, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammadu Adamu, to fortify security at the parliament. However, their concern should transcend law enforcement and worry about Buhari’s penchant for disobeying court orders. This errant conduct does not bode well for good governance and survival of democracy.

But obeying a court order is fundamental to the reign of the rule of law, orderly society and deepening of democracy globally. As a result, Nigeria’s case cannot be different. If the government believes that El-Zakzaky poses any threat to public peace, he can be released but put under strict surveillance, without necessarily tampering with his basic human rights or flouting court orders. This is how such matters are handled in civilised jurisdictions.

With the unfinished Boko Haram war and the ominous presence of the Islamic State, West Africa Province, Nigeria already has formidable enemies. The human and material costs of the confrontations with these non-state actors have become so huge that government should not compound the present security challenges by inadvertently driving the Shi’ites underground.

The death of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of Boko Haram, while in police custody in 2010 was the spark which transformed the jihadists into the intractable security monster they have since become. This surreal drama with the Shi’ites has reached a point where the Buhari government should follow the path of reason and release el-Zakzaky now.

punchng.com/shiites-nass-invasion/


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Re: Shi’ites NASS Invasion . by iamtee(m): 12:52am on July 14
Here for the money

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Answer them first

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Re: Shi’ites NASS Invasion . by kingcy(m): 1:19am on July 14
Matter should be taken to court

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Re: Shi’ites NASS Invasion . by Ikpongifonke(m): 6:21am on July 14
To whom it may concern

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Re: Shi’ites NASS Invasion . by Iamwumi(f): 10:05am on July 14

[ @janga12: ] Punch Editorial Board

A serious security breach occurred at the National Assembly on Tuesday with its invasion by members of an Islamic sect, Shi’ites, protesting the Federal Government’s continued detention of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, despite a court order for his release. They reportedly seized the service gun of one of the police officers at the gate with which they shot two officers, vandalised the gate, burnt two vehicles and smashed others. The wounded police personnel are receiving treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja. Out of the 40 suspects arrested by the police, 38 were arraigned before a Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

On July 4, they had marched to the parliament and were received by a member of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, on behalf of the leadership. The lawmaker addressed them and promised to get back to them, even before they could reach their various destinations. In a statement signed by Abdullahi Musa, of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ites), more than 148 hours had passed since this interface “and no response, neither from him nor from any other person amongst his colleagues.” Last Tuesday, they returned and unleashed violence. This is condemnable. They over-reached themselves, abused their right to free assembly or protest – a veritable civic culture of democracy guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. The Shi’ites protesters re-emerged in Lagos on Thursday.

This was not the first time members of the IMN would storm the Federal Capital Territory or exude such violent tendency to press for their leader’s release. A clash with a Nigerian Army convoy in Abuja in October 2018 was ghastly. They “smashed civilian vehicles windscreens and windows; and they also attempted to overrun the escorts to cart away the ammunition and missiles the troops were escorting,” the Army authorities said.

The crux of all this is the incarceration of el-Zakzaky since December 2015, when IMN members blocked the Kaduna-Zaria Road during one of their religious symbolic treks. By so doing, they held the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, hostage. Pleas by security details for them to clear the road went unheeded. The resultant clash led to the alleged death of a soldier.


Incensed by their audacity, the soldiers invaded the venue where the IMN members gathered and the abode of el-Zakzaky in Zaria. Many of his followers were killed; while he was arrested along with his wife, Zeenat. The Army only acknowledged a few deaths but the sect accused them of mass murder of their members who were hurriedly buried. Amnesty International, one of the bodies critical of the Army’s high-handed response, put the number of Shi’ites murdered at 350. “Amnesty International has uncovered a site, which we believe is where hundreds of people were buried,” it said in one of its reports.

On Muhammadu Buhari’s watch, unlawful detention has become the order of the day. To enforce his right under the law, the incarcerated Islamic cleric, through his lawyer, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, approached an Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Gabriel Kolawole, and urged it to declare that his continued detention without trial was unlawful and demanded his release. The court did just that on December 2, 2016. It ordered not just his release within 45 days to the police, but also awarded N25 million damages each, in favour of him and his wife. This was a year after he was detained.

It is now two and a half years since this judgement was given and three and a half years since the cleric has been unlawfully held by the state. The Buhari government’s action is the height of impunity in a democracy, violence to our Constitution and abuse of the rule of law. It is a cause celebre that should be alien to democracy and civil order. The action should no longer be tolerated. Our law prescribes that no citizen should be held for more than 48 hours without being charged and tried for an alleged offence.

The argument of the State Security Service that the cleric is “being kept under a protective custody” is fatuous and indefensible. In the United Kingdom, security and intelligence agencies are subject to oversight by ordinary courts. The UK Supreme Court ruled in May that government security decisions could not be exempted from legal action. The court said, “It is ultimately for the courts, not the legislature, to determine the limits set by the rule of law to the power to exclude review.”

But El-Zakzaky is not alone; the ordeal of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, which predates the former’s, adds to the list of cases this administration has used to make nonsense of the rule of law. According to Falana, there are other 40 Nigerians being unlawfully detained by the Nigerian Navy. The US Department of State 2018 Human Rights Report on Nigeria states that detainees were denied due process and subjected to arbitrary and indefinite detention in conditions that remained harsh and life threatening. AI reported that citizens were generally not able to access any information about the fate or welfare of family members in military detention. This is awful.

El-Zakzaky and others in unlawfully detention should be released without further delay. The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), a proponent of the rule of law, who has received Falana’s petition on this matter, should bring his influence to bear on this quest for justice and what is right. Both the Senate and the House, whose members were jolted by the Shi’ites’ splenetic volley, as they could have been victims too, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammadu Adamu, to fortify security at the parliament. However, their concern should transcend law enforcement and worry about Buhari’s penchant for disobeying court orders. This errant conduct does not bode well for good governance and survival of democracy.

But obeying a court order is fundamental to the reign of the rule of law, orderly society and deepening of democracy globally. As a result, Nigeria’s case cannot be different. If the government believes that El-Zakzaky poses any threat to public peace, he can be released but put under strict surveillance, without necessarily tampering with his basic human rights or flouting court orders. This is how such matters are handled in civilised jurisdictions.

With the unfinished Boko Haram war and the ominous presence of the Islamic State, West Africa Province, Nigeria already has formidable enemies. The human and material costs of the confrontations with these non-state actors have become so huge that government should not compound the present security challenges by inadvertently driving the Shi’ites underground.

The death of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of Boko Haram, while in police custody in 2010 was the spark which transformed the jihadists into the intractable security monster they have since become. This surreal drama with the Shi’ites has reached a point where the Buhari government should follow the path of reason and release el-Zakzaky now.

punchng.com/shna qa iites-nass-invasion/

na wa ooo

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