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We are holding on to El-Zakzaky over security concerns, says FG


By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

The Presidency has listed several reasons why it is blocking the release of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, (IMAN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been in detention since 2015, despite order from court for his release.

A reliable Presidential source, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, said that the issue of his release is not exclusively legal as it has security and public interest undertones.

“The major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security. The issue of the release of zak zaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.

“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any other individual claim of right. The Fedaral government of Nigeria is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions into consideration,” he said.

Denying detention of the religious leader’s wife along side her husband, the official said that El-Zakzaky’s wife was not of any security interests and therefore was merely keeping her husband company in the apartment in which he is kept.

“She is not under detention. If it is her wish, or that of her husband or of the IMAN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours,” he said.

According to him, El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the Department of Security Services, DSS beside her husband with bullet wounds following IMAN’s encounter with the army.

“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for her hi. Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened.” he stated.

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