The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has sued the Department of State Services and the Attorney-General of the Federation to court over his prolonged detention and the refusal of the government to release his passport.
In the fundamental human rights suit instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja, by his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), El-Zakzaky is seeking seven reliefs, including an “order mandating the respondents to pay over to the applicant the sum of N2bn as general and exemplary damages for the violation of the applicant’s rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property.”
The cleric is also seeking a declaration that the seizure of his passport with number A50578740 since May 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (CAP A9), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The Shiite leader wants the court to declare that the refusal of the DSS and the AGF to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment constituted a threat to his life as guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999Constitution.
El-Zakzaky asked the court to grant a perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further violating his rights.
He is also seeking a declaration that the red flag travelling restrictions placed on his passport at land borders by the AGF and the DSS without a court order is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act.
El-Zakzaky said despite the pronouncement of a Kaduna State High Court, which discharged and acquitted him and his wife, Zeenah, on July 28, the government was still keeping their travel documents.
According to him, he suffered lead poisoning with 244 lead metals lodged in his body, while his wife was shot in the thigh.
El-Zakzaky, who spoke in an interview with Iran-based PRESS TV, said they were being denied the opportunity of travelling abroad for proper medical treatment by the Nigerian government as their passports were seized for no reason.
The transcript of the interview was sent to journalists in Abuja on Sunday by the Secretary, Academic Forum of the IMN, Abdullahi Muhammad.
El-Zakzaky also described the 2015 massacre of his followers by soldiers in Zaria as “a pre-planned crackdown.”
He said, “The bullets in my body scattered; so there are some fragments in my body, hands, thigh and head. I am still living with lead poison in my body, including the fragments of bullets.
“It’s the will of Allah that I’m still alive; because when they tested the level of lead in my body, at one time, it was about 244.
“On July 28 this year, we were discharged and acquitted, and we were exonerated from all the eight charges against us. They were ordered to pay compensation, yet nothing has happened.
“So, the matter has not come to an end. We are still being, in a way, incarcerated because we are not allowed out of the country for no reason.
“They burnt our house to ashes and they were surprised that after killing hundreds of people and burning the house, we were still alive – myself, my wife, my children and some few brothers and sisters. And they opened fire on us. Three of my children were killed before me. My wife and I were wounded, terribly wounded.”