A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has challenged the State Security Service (SSS) to not only obey the court order granting bail to Ibrahim El-Zakzakym but to obey all such orders.
Mr Falana also commended the ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which ordered the release of Mr El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife, Zeenat, for medical treatment in India.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Falana said allowing the couple to go for medical treatment abroad has saved the country from a major crisis.
A Kaduna State High Court Monday granted Mr El-Zakzaky bail on health grounds alongside his wife.
The court said the prosecution had failed to prove Mr El-Zakzaky would be a flight risk, while the defence team had established that the couple’s health had worsened in custody.
Mr El-Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015 after soldiers raided the IMN headquarters in Zaria and killed at least 347 Shiites.
The government accuses the group of not recognising the Nigerian constitution and authority. It blames Mr El-Zakzaky for the death of a soldier in the December 2015 incident.
Mr El-Zakzaky’s prolonged detention despite several court orders for his release fueled protests by Shiites in many cities in Nigeria.
Recent protests by the group have resulted in violence, with a journalist and a police officer among over a dozen people killed two weeks ago in Abuja.
The group said the shootings were done by the police, and the government has not shown evidence the IMN carried out the attack.
“I was pleased to learn last night that the State Security Service announced that the order will be complied with and I think that is a good development,” Mr Falana said of the court order.
He called for the immediate release of others in custody despite court orders.
“I do hope that other court orders including the one of Dasuki will be complied with so that we can join the rest of the committee of civilized nations,” he said.
Condemning the recent arrest of the publisher of online news medium, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, the lawyer said Nigerians are entitled to peaceful protests.
Mr Sowore was arrested on Saturday by agents of the SSS.
“If you are going to detain a citizen like Sowore, you can’t detain him for more than 24 hours in a place like Lagos.
“If you are going to detain Sowore beyond 24 hours, you must go and get a court order,” Mr Falana said.