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El-Zakzaky, wife demand N4bn damages

The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has sued the Department of State Services and the Attorney-General of the Federation over his detention and the refusal of the government to release his passport.

In a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Femi Falana Chambers had told the court that their passports were last seen in the possession of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

They are also asking the court to declare that the seizure of their passports since May 2019, as illegal and unconstitutional because it violates their fundamental rights.

They also urged the court to mandate the defendants to pay the sum of N2 billion each, as general and exemplary damages, for the violation of their rights to freedom of movement.

El-Zakzaky and his wife said that the seizure of their passports, and an absence of a court order, amounts to a threat to their lives since they were denied access to medical attention.

Their trial

They were arrested in December 2015, after the Nigerian Army shot at followers of the Shiite cleric, after a demonstration by the members on a major road in Zaria, during which they blocked the convoy of the then chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, and other road users.

The Army accused Mr El-Zakzaky and his followers of attempting to assassinate Mr Buratai, but the Islamic movement said soldiers simply attacked “defenseless people.”

A Kaduna State High court freed the couple in a ruling that lasted over eight hours. The judge upheld the no-case submission filed by Mr El-Zakzaky and his wife.

The Kaduna government said it would appeal the ruling.

Edited by Adeniyi Bakare