Kaduna State government yesterday declared that it has filed at the Kaduna High Court, terms for strict monitoring of the bail granted to leader of the banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.
In a statement, the commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the state government respects the right of anyone to seek treatment anywhere in the world, even for malaria or common cold, so long as they are paying for it.
The statement said, but in the case of persons facing trial for serious offences, necessary safeguards are required to ensure that such persons do not become fugitives from justice or frustrate trial by claiming asylum or the status of political prisoner in the host country.
Recall that Monday, 5th August 2019, the Kaduna High Court granted an application for medical leave filed by El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah , to travel abroad.
However, the Kaduna government said “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall confirm the appointments of the defendants/applicants with the Medanta Hospital, India, and undertake all necessary diplomatic arrangements and protocols to ensure compliance with the conditions of the medical leave.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake to return to Nigeria to continue their trial as soon as they are discharged from the hospital, and shall also be responsible for the cost of their travel, treatment and living expenses while on their medical leave.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one being a first class chief/emir of national repute and the other a prominent person within Kaduna State who shall undertake to produce the defendants whenever they are needed. The sureties must also produce evidence of landed property within Kaduna State.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria shall obtain from the Government of India an irrevocable guarantee that it will not entertain any application by the defendants/applicants or any third party seeking asylum under any guise or conferring the status of political prisoners or any other status aside from being medical patients on the defendants/applicants and shall also restrain the defendants/applicants from any act inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake in writing, endorsed by their Counsel, that while on medical treatment in India, they shall do nothing to jeopardize the ongoing trial, the peace and security of Nigeria and the laws of the Republic of India in whatever form.
“Security agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria shall escort the defendants/applicants and remain with them throughout the duration of their treatment in India and thereafter shall return with them after their discharge from the hospital.
The Nigerian High Commission in India shall undertake prior vetting and grant consent before any visitor has access to the defendants/applicants while in the Republic of India.”
The statement explained further:” As is readily evident from the above, many of these terms of supervision depend for their actualisation on actions by the Federal Government of Nigeria which is the sovereign power vested with the constitutional responsibility for foreign affairs. While the Kaduna State government respects the court’s ruling on medical leave, it disagrees with the premises on which it is based. Therefore, an appeal will be lodged on the matter, but a stay of execution will not be sought as the state government believes that a person may choose to travel abroad for any medical condition at his own cost.”
The statement added: “As stated earlier, El-Zakzaky and his wife are defendants in a criminal case. Given the pendency of this case, the proper thing is to await its conclusion. However, the Kaduna State Government notes that perceptions of this case are suffused in a veritable avalanche of deliberate falsehood, disinformation and revisionism, powered by vested interests.
“Counsels representing the defendants/applicants in the case have been appearing before the Kaduna High Court. It is baffling that the same counsels to the defendants, led by a senior advocate, Femi Falana, are in their public comments, giving the impression that there is no trial ongoing at the Kaduna High Court, which denied bail to Mr El-Zakzaky and consequent to which Mr. Ibrahim El-Zakzaky remains in lawful custody.
“It is the considered contention of the Kaduna State Government that decades of impunity emboldened the IMN to engage in various unlawful activities culminating in the tragic events of December 2015. In prosecuting the case, the state government is affirming simple canons of the rule of law, that no one is above its long arm and that all persons are equal in its eyes. Mob pressure, such as the carnage visited on the streets of Abuja to force Mr. El-Zakzaky’s release without due process, cannot be allowed to succeed.
“Matters have been joined in court. The two defendants are represented by counsel of their choice and they have taken the pleas. It is left to the court to decide the case. The campaign of violence, disinformation and misinformation on this matter must now stop. Only a court of law can free Mr. El-Zakzaky, and the court before which he is standing trial is the High Court of Kaduna State.
“It is ridiculous to feign respect for the rule of law while ignoring legal processes ongoing before a state High Court. Campaigns of calumny, abuse, disinformation and disrespect for law and order will not trump due process. Equality before the law obliges everyone to respect the trial process before a court, not to irresponsibly traduce it,” the statement explained.
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