Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has listed for hearing a N2bn suit filed by the detained leader of Shi’ite leader in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, against the Federal Government.
The suit is to come up on June 14, 2016.
The detained Shi’ite leader is applying, through his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to private and family life and private property.
Zakzaky has been in detention since December 14, 2015.
Justice Kolawole thus on Monday ordered service of the relevant court processes on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force are also to be served the relevant papers.
The suit marked FHC/CS/128/2016, is predicated on sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 41 and 46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as on Articles 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12(1) of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, LFN, 2010.
Zakzaky prayed the court to declare that “the detention of the applicant at Abuja by the respondents since December 14, 2015, is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental rights to personal liberty as enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
Falana is contending that the continued detention of his client without being charged before a competent court is in violation of his right to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
He said that his client had since lost one of his eye owing to the treatment meted out to him by security agents acting on behalf of the federal government, adding that the detained Sh’ite leader was denied access to his medical doctors, family members and relatives.
Insisting that his client’s rights to health and association as enshrined in Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights was violated, Falana wants the court to declare that detention of the applicant “without access to his family and friends was not only illegal but in violation of his rights to freedom of association as enshrined in section 40 of the Constitution”.
Likewise, he is praying the court for, “An order directing the immediate and unconditional release of the applicant from the custody of the 1st and 2nd respondents. “An order restraining the respondents from further violating the applicants fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.
As well as, “An order compelling the respondents, jointly and severally to pay the applicant the sum of N2billion as general and aggravated damages for the illegal violation of his fundamental rights to personal liberty, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement an freedom of association”.
It will be recalled that Zakzaky’s arrest and detention followed a violent clash that occurred at Zaria in Kaduna State on December 14, 2015, between his followers and detachments of the Nigerian Army accompanying the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai. The clash had resulted in loss of lives of members of the Shi’ite sect, among whom included the applicant’s wife and son.