Court orders immediate release of Nigeria Shi’a leader, El-Zakzaky

Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday ordered the release of the leader of the Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

Mr. El-Zakzaky was arrested by the military on December 14, 2015, after a clash between the movement and officers of the Nigerian army.

The army killed at least 347 members of the group.

Mr. El-Zakzaky approached the court to demand his release, months after he was arrested without being charged to Court.

He asked the Court to declare that his arrest and continued detention violated his fundamental rights.

His lawyer, Femi Falana, said the court should declare that the continued detention of his client without charging him, was unlawful.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, rejected the submission of the counsel to the State Security Service, Tijjani Gazali, that Mr. El-Zakzaky was kept in protective custody of the SSS.

He said the decision to hold the Islamic cleric and his wife for their safety was not based on law.

“I have not been shown any incident report or any complaint lodged by residents around the neighbourhood that the applicant has become a nuisance to his neigbourhood,” said the judge.

He said the decision of the government to hold the applicant for so long amounted to great danger.

Citing the death of former leader of the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, the judge said; “If the applicant dies in custody which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths”.

Mr. Kolawole said the government should within 45 days release the applicant and his family to the police, who shall within 24 hours take them, guarded by escort, to a safe place.

He added that the SSS will pay a fine of N25 million each to Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, making N50 million.


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  • Taiwo

    Kudos Justice Gabriel Kolawole but watch your back o! Buhari and his cousin Daura may soon come on a visit late in the night to fight corruption in your bedroom.

    • Dr Abba

      The judge should fear not if he don’t have skeletons in his cupboard. I pray he doesn’t have anything the govt will use against him.

      • lo

        One can always find fault with human activities no matter how careful, diligent or prudent you are on the job. If buahri should leave office today, even his closed aides can find faults with his activities in the less than 2 years in office. So, if buhari is looking for skeleton, he will ALWAYS get one in anybody’s ward drop.

  • Romberg

    Be sure, Buhari will disregard the court order and attack the judge instead…. An appeal is a waste of time. He won’t even have a representation!

    • musa aliyu

      Hee, her, he,he!

  • Uwaoma, Chigozie

    Unless there’s a bargain between Justice Kolawole and Buhari to release El-Zakzaky otherwise Justice Kolawole’s house would be invaded by the Buharis’s Dss very soon…and untrue allegations would be leveled against him.

    • Doyin

      Pathological liar. Were you there?

      • Uwaoma, Chigozie

        Doyin, you need sane brain…

        • Doyin

          Sane brain does not lie. You need your blocked head examined to find out why are you throwing lies around because of your hatred of a sane society where looters are afraid.

          • Uwaoma, Chigozie

            I now know that you are use to insanity… Enjoy it while it lasts..

          • Ade

            Typical biafran’s comment.

          • Doyin

            Blocked head non-entity, go back to High School.

      • Uwaoma, Chigozie

        Doyin, like I wrote earlier, has your Buhari freed the said El-Zakzaky?
        If not why?

  • Capt

    Let us see if they will obey court

    • Powerlessconscious

      Which court ? The court that refused to jail thieves politicians.

      • Capt

        Who are the politicians?

  • Gary

    God bless Justice Kolawole, there’s still hope that our people can count on some judges unafraid to stand up for the rule of law and due process.

    Now Nigerians and the international community will watch what happens next on the question of human rights and the law under the Buhari government.

    • Powerlessconscious

      Which court ? The court that refused to jail thieves politicians..

  • Otile

    Brainless Buhari and his Fulani herdsmen will never allow justice and fairness to prevail.

    • Aminu Mahmoud

      Leave us alone it is family affair; Fulani detaining Fulani so keep off,but how far any news from your mentor FFK on when to kick start the war since APC had clinched victory to Ondo election?

  • suleiman

    “I have not been shown any incident report or any complaint lodged by
    residents around the neighbourhood that the applicant has become a
    nuisance to his neigbourhood,” said the judge. Either this judge is lazy or is intellectually comatose. There were hundreds of memos to the Kaduna JCI from Gyellesu and other surrounding communities of Zaria, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina States of harassment, intimidation and outright murders and and all the judge could have done was to read those memos. Judges are appointed to protect the loves of the citizens and not rule on the basis of emotions, mere speculations or create media sensation.

    • musa Ayo

      It is not the responsibility of a judge to go and look for evidence. Quot me anywhere! You could have presented those evidence if you like. I feel ashamed for human beings to have lost the humanity in them just due to sectarian ideological differences! People of various ages were massacred for crying out loud.

      • lo

        Its unfortunate we have people like Suleiman in our midst. 347 fellow citizens killed and buried overnight by soldiers that “supposed” to protect them and insane mind like Suleiman will support the killings because he is sunni muslem determined to annihilate shia muslems based on instruction from Saudi Arabia to CnC. God is watching every action or inaction of human beings.

    • Shehu Monguno

      Suleiman, it is not the responsibility of the judge to look for evidence. Was the evidence in question presented to the judge by the government lawyer? This is the shoddy prosecution done by government and we blame the judge

      • Charlie

        God bless you my brother. Most Nigerians don’t understand how laws work nor do they understand the constitution, they only understand and celebrate mob justice.

    • Okey Agugua

      The fire you guys stokes up there will consume you all. Religion has become a cancer to you all over there. Why do support these killings? You could be a victim too. Think hard.

    • GusO

      If there were hundreds of memos describing him as a nuisance to his community, it should have been submitted to the Judge by the lawyer for the SSS, Tijanni Gazali. It is not for the judge to go looking for them.

  • Best

    I think the president and the Army chief should be sued at international court for mass killing

  • Ifeanyianadu

    We are watching…Nnamdi Kanu on my mind

  • musa Ayo

    “Citing the death of former leader of the Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, the judge said; “If the applicant dies in custody which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths” .
    I Wonder why it takes a judge to remind the government of this!

    • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_


  • Wetin Naija

    The same corrupt court will not release Nnamdi Kanu that has killed no one, but only expressing his believe publicly


    Buhari and his lawless bunch of Sunni-Muslim Mallams who run his security apparatus do not understand how a democracy works, they are more fixated in satisfying the commands of their middle-east masters and handlers who desperately need to convert northern Nigeria into the latest battle field of the 1000 year old Shiite-Sunni bloody feud. BUHARI IS A DISASTER BY ALL STANDARDS !!

  • Arabakpura

    The judiciary is beginning to assert itself! All good for change!

    • O.E. Austin


      Is this the grandmother of corruption in Nigeria?

      I like Premium Times too much. It is so objective. It does not show any bias, but always factual.
      What I want from Premium Times now is to look into the ONE BILLION NAIRA that President Buhari
      put into Brigadier Buba Marwa’s back pocket quietly last year July. I want Premium Times to answer
      only one question for the masses. Where is it inside the 1999 Constitution that President will have
      the right to go to the treasury within 60 days of resuming office to carry one billion Naira just like that?
      If Premium Times cannot see any section inside the Constitution then Premium Times must tell us if
      what President Muhamadu Buhari did with his own hand is the GRANDMOTHER OF CORRUPTION.

      • I still dey come

        You want to declare IYA LAYA OLE under President Buhari….yepa, this one looks like
        boldface looting as if to say make e spoil for IYALAYA ANYBODY who wants to
        fight corruption. Hahahahahaha! Nigeria is a den of thieves.

  • This poor man has been incarcerated for a yr without trial or conviction. This can only happen in a lawless society. How can Buhari and his Gestapo justify this dehumanization before a civilized world? Very sad.

    • Etomi

      For his stup1d supporters, this impunity, this rape on democracy means nothing or pales into significance as they are overwhelmingly impressed with Buhari’s so-called war against Kwarrapshun!

      Be sure though that the FG will yet again disobey the order of court concerning El Zakzaky and may conspire on how to rope Justice Kolawole in a trumped-up corruption charge like they did with Justice Ademola over Nnamdi Kanu and Dasuki….


    A Very bold, courageous and forthright ruling by Justice Kolawole. But I do not see the Federal Government and the Daura led SSS obeying this ruling. Instead they will file a frivolous appeal and a motion for stay of execution to delay the release of El- zakzakky. Justice Kolawole should also be extremely careful from now on because I see the Daura led SSS cooking up a frivolous petition against him and using it as an excuse to raid his house in the middle of the night to fish for alleged evidence of corruption proceeds just as they did to Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja .