The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in connivance with the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, is planning to retry the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, with a fiat issued way back in 2017, SaharaReporters has learnt.
SaharaReporters had reported that barely some days after the release of El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, by a state High court, the el-Rufai-led state government filed fresh charges against the Shiites’ leader.
The said fiat, obtained by SaharaReporters, was dated 30th January 2017.
It stated that the authorisation powers given by the AGF to the Kaduna State Attorney-General was under Section 174 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
SaharaReporters learnt that Malami and the Kaduna government are perfecting plans to re-arraign El-Zakzaky following part 4 of the fiat which reads, “The Hon Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice retains the power to take over any such criminal proceedings instituted under the power donated by this fiat without any notice, agreement or hindrance on the part of anybody or authority.”
It reads in full, “In exercise of the powers conferred on the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice by the provisions of section 174 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I, Abubakar Malami, Honourable Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister of Justice, hereby authorise you, Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaduna State, to exercise on my behalf, the said powers conferred upon me with particular reference to the prosecution of Federal Offences which may arise within your jurisdiction and which may be practically possible for the Office of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Generation to prosecute.
“In the exercise of my powers under this fiat you are to be guided by the following covenants and conditions, the breach of which this fiat shall be deemed to have been validly revoked without more. To wit: i. No further delegation of my powers under this fiat shall be allowed.
“ii. No payment shall be made by the federal government in respect of the expenses incurred in prosecuting any matter under this fiat. iii. No case or matter instituted or taken over by the powers donated under this fiat shall be discontinued without pre-informing the Hon. Attorney-General of the federation in writing and his express approval obtained in deserving cases.
“iv. The Hon Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice retains the power to take over any such criminal proceedings instituted under the power donated by this fiat without any notice, agreement or hindrance on the part of anybody or authority.
“A register of all such cases being prosecuted under this fiat shall be kept and a progress report submitted on each of the cases until the final conclusion, wherein a final report shall be lodged to the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”
Justice Gideon Kurada had ordered the discharge of El-Zakzaky and Zeenat after they were acquitted of all charges against them.
Kurada found that the charges were filed against the couple in 2018 pursuant to the Penal Law enacted by the state government in 2017 over an alleged offence committed in 2015.
He said the state government could not arraign someone for a crime that was not an offence at the time.
But the counsel for the state government, Dari Bayero, had said fresh charges had been filed against the Shiites leader under the Treason and Treasonable Offences Act before a Federal High Court.
He had also said the Nasir el-Rufai-led Kaduna State government would appeal the case.
He had said, “We are going to appeal, there is no doubt about it; in fact, we have obtained the court judgment because we are not in agreement with my Lord’s reasoning and conclusion, it is not in consonance with the facts on the ground."
El-Zakzaky and Zeenat, are standing trial on eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of the public peace, among others.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
The couple had been in detention since 2015, after IMN supporters clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.