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COVID-19: Femi Falana Demands Immediate Release of Shiites’ Leader, Wife

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A Lagos lawyer, Barrister Femi Falana, SAN, has written Kaduna state government demanding for immediate release of leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenah Ibrahim.

In the letter, dated April 14, 2020, Falana stated that the demand for release of the Shiites leader is in line with the global trend of decongesting detention centres owing to the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter addressed to Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice Kaduna state, Falana, who is counsel to El-Zakzaky and wife, noted that, federal government of Nigeria, in line with global trend of decongesting detention centres owing to the pandemic, had mandated the various detention centres in the country to decongest. 

“We are a law firm committed to the enthronement of societal justice accountability, equity and rule of Law in Africa.

“We remain counsel to Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and Mallama Zeenah Ibrahim (hereinafter our clients), who are presently standing trial on 8-count charge in Suit no: KDH/KD/60C/2018 between The State Vs Malam Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky & 1 other,” he stated.

“Our clients were arrested at Zaria, Kaduna State, on December 12, 2015, following the unfortunate incident between members of the Shia, Islamic movement and officers of the Nigerian Army. 

“It is common knowledge that our clients have been grappling with the life threatening injuries they sustained during the said incident and a court ordered medical trip to the Medanta Hospital, New Delhi, could not achieve the desired goal,” he added.

The letter stated that “Series of tests and scans were carried out on our clients, which revealed that there are still bullet shrapnel lodged in several parts of our clients’ bodies (including a bullet shrapnel still lodged in the skull of Malam Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky) amongst other dire medical attentions, which cannot be attended to at any of the detention facilities of the Nigerian Correctional Service. Copies of the scan and medical reports are hereto attached.

“As you are no doubt aware, the Federal Government of Nigeria (in line with the global trend of decongesting detention centers owing to the novel coronavirus pandemic) had mandated that the various detention centers in the country, subject to certain criteria amongst which is ‘terminal illness,’ decongest.

“In view of the foregoing, we urge you to use your good offices to secure the immediate release of our clients from custody so as to enable them access requisite medical care.

“Whilst anticipating your favourable consideration of our request, please, accept as usual, the assurances of our highest professional regards.” 

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