*Case instituted two days before IMN’s leader was freed by court
John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Dari Bayero yesterday confirmed to THISDAY that the government had filed fresh charges bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony against the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
He said the new charges were filed on July 26, at the federal High Court, Kaduna, just two days before the IMN’s leader and his wife, Zeenat, were freed by Justice Gideon Kurada on eight count charge of culpable homicide, disruption of public peace, unlawful assembly among others.
Bayero said the fresh charges of terrorism and treasonable felony against El-Zakzaky would be jointly prosecuted by the Federal and Kaduna State governments.
He said: The terrorism case was filed based on the utterances of El-Zakzaky, under section 17 (A) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2013. He will face a nine-count charge at the Federal High Court, Kaduna. We even attempted to serve him while in prison before the ruling, he refused to collect it. There is evidence to that effect. An affidavit will be duly sworn to that effect. We couldn’t move forward quickly because the Federal High Court is on vacation.
This case is supposed to be done in conjunction with the federal government. The Federal Ministry of Justice will send a team to come and prosecute with us.Bayero also said the state government would appeal against the no case ruling of the state High Court in favour of the IMN’s leader.
Of course we will appeal against the ruling. We have applied for the ruling and as soon as that is made available to us, we will go on appeal. Definitely we will go on appeal. We have informed the court on our decision to appeal against the ruling, he said.However, in his reaction, the spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said he was not aware of any new case filed against El-Zakzaky in any court.
My findings indicated that there are no court papers served to our leader. Definitely we are not aware of the charge in another court, Musa said.He, however, admitted that a day before the judgement of the state High Court, there was an attempt to serve El-Zakzaky some court papers.
We are aware that a day before the judgment at the state High Court, they tried to make such moves but there was no judge assigned, no court assigned for the case and we were not served with the papers.
So it might be an attempt by them. But in reality our Sheikh or his lawyers have not been served any court papers, the IMN spokesman told THISDAY.
In the no case submission filed by El-Zakzakys counsels, led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Justice Kurada declared that the IMN’s leader and his wife, who had been in detention for over five years, had no case to answer, because the Kaduna government failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants, and accordingly discharged and acquitted them.
Shortly after his victory in court on Wednesday, El-Zakzaky and his wife were immediately discharged from the Kaduna Correctional Centre.
Sources said they were taken to a resident of one of his followers in Abuja, because his Zaria residence and properties of the IMN had been demolished by the Kaduna State Government after his arrest in December 2015.
The source said El-Zakzakys family members, his followers and well-wishers, had been visiting him in his new abode in Abuja since Thursday.
Musa said the IMN leader’s left Kaduna for Abuja on Thursday.He is now in Abuja, I cant say he has a house in Abuja, but you know as somebody with many followers, he will not lack a place to stay, Musa said.
Defence Team Celebrates Victory
After El-Zakzakys victory in court last Wednesday, an elated counsel to the defendants, Marshal Abubakar who represented the lead counsel in the suit, Falana, declared: The trial of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat has come to an end as the court found them not guilty of the alleged crime filed against them by the Kaduna State Government.
The court found that the charges that were filed in 2018 pursuant to the Penal Law enacted by the state government in 2017 over an alleged offence committed in 2015, were incompetent.
The court ruled that the charge was not supposed to be filed in the first place, as the government cannot arraign someone for a said crime that was not an offence at the time.The court ruled that the charge was incompetent, as the court agreed that El-Zakzaky and his wife had committed no offence.
The court also holds that the event of December 12, 2015 and December 15, 2015 was not an offence and the court was emphatic that none of the events on December 12, 2015 can be attributed to the defendants for an offence.
El-Zakzaky, Wife Arrested in December 2015
El-Zakzaky and his wife were arrested in December 2015, following a clash between his followers and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State.His followers, who were observing a religious ritual, allegedly blocked the highway and refused to allow passage of the convoy of the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (now retired), who was in Zaria for the Passing Out Parade of the military school in the area.
The IMN members allegedly turned down all appeal to allow the convoy of the army chief go pass, leading to confrontation.
The following day, soldiers allegedly sealed off the headquarters of the IMN in Zaria, and that there was a bloody clash.No fewer than 347 members of the IMN were killed and buried in a mass grave in the Mando area of Kaduna metropolis.
While in detention, his followers persistently protested in major cities, like Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, and Sokoto, demanding for his release.Some of their protests often resulted in deaths, following violent clashes with security agencies, especially the police.
In December 2016, an Abuja Federal High Court under trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole ordered the release of the IMN’s leader and his wife on the grounds that their continuous incarceration was unconstitutional and an infringement on their fundamental human rights.
The court had also awarded N50 million compensation to the duo and ordered the federal government to provide a new accommodation for them in Zaria or any northern town of their choice. But the federal government refused to free him until the eventual judgement on Wednesday that set him free.

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