BY AMOS TAUNA, KADUNA – The Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna on Thursday adjourned a N2 billion suit filed against the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff and three others by the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, over alleged abuse of his human rights, destruction of his house in Zaria and the murder of his three children to June 30, 2017.
The case was adjourned at the instance of the defence counsel’s inability to identify and argue the motion he had filed, alleging abuse of court process in the suit .
The Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army staff, who are the first and the second defendants respectively, was represented by their counsel, Hussein Oyebanji, told the presiding Judge, Justice Saleh Shuaibu that he was not familiar with the case. Oyebanji stood in for the lead defence counsel, Biola Oyebanji who was not in court.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday in Kaduna, counsel to El-zakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), moved an application for the regularisation of the processes that he had filed out of time.
But when counsel to the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army staff Staff was invited by the presiding judge to identify and argue the motion of objection earlier filed, Barr. Oyebanji told the judge that he was not conversant with the case.
When asked by the Judge whether he can conduct the case, Oyebanji pleaded for adjournment to allow his principal, the lead counsel appear in court to argue the case. The Judge, however, adjourned the case to the 30th June to enable the defence identify and argue his motion.
Speaking after the adjournment, Femi Falana cautioned against foot dragging in the case. According to him, “We cannot challenge a violation of human right that occur in a particular state outside that state, because the destruction took place in Kaduna and it shall be determined in the state where the violation of human right took place.”
He said since the government has pledged to operate within the confines of the rule of law, the government must uphold order of a competent court, arguing that it is El-Zakzaky today, it might be another person from government official tomorrow.
His words: “This government has pledged to operate under the rule of law, so for that reason, by the virtue of section 387 of the constitution, all authorities and person are bind by judgement. So, a government that goes to court every day to ask for justice cannot go there to justify disobedience to court order, this is barbaric and primitive. So, we are not going to allow that.”
An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had on 2nd December, 2016 ordered the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.