Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has expressed that the new charge filed by the Kaduna state government against Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), and his wife, was hurriedly done to prevent the couple’s release from custody.
Recall that days after the court ordered the release of El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, Dari Bayero, Kaduna director of public prosecution, announced that fresh counts bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony against the state and the federal government had been filed.
Speaking on the development in a statement on Sunday, Femi Falana, leader of the defence team, stated that contrary to reports that the charge was filed after the court ordered the couple’s release, it had been “hurriedly filed in the federal high court holden at Kaduna on Tuesday, 26th July, in a desperate bid by the Kaduna State government to frustrate the release of the defendants from further incarceration”.
“In other words, the new charge was maliciously filed when the Kaduna State Government anticipated that the ruling fixed for July 28 in respect our no case submission would succeed,” he said.
He stated that as soon as the new charge was filed, “the bailiff of the federal high court was commanded to rush to the Kaduna correctional centre to serve same on the defendants”.
“But the defendants refused to accept service of the charge and directed the Bailiff to serve it on them through their Counsel. But for reasons best known to the Kaduna State Government, the charge was not served on the defence counsel,” Falana said.
“In apparent disregard of the epochal judgment of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kurada, the Kaduna State Government seeks to subject the defendants to trial under the Terrorism Prevention Act enacted in 2011 for offences that were committed as far back as 2008.
“But since the Kaduna State Government is not sure that the defendants would be convicted for terrorism, the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Bayero, has announced that an appeal would be filed at the Court of Appeal against the Ruling of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kadura.”
Falana, however, said the new charge or filing of the appeal would have no effect on release of the defendants.