Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, have dragged the Nigerian Government to court over the seizure of their passports.
SaharaReporters had reported that the couple’s passports were seized from them after they returned from a government-supervised medical trip to India in 2019.
El-Zakzaky and his wife were then standing trial at the Kaduna State High Court on charges of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly among charges filed against them in connection with the bloody clash between IMN members and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State, in December 2015.
They were, however, freed of the charges after the Kaduna court declared that they had no case to answer in a July 28 ruling.
The Kaduna Government thereafter threatened to take the case back to court.
In the latest suit filed by the couple, they stated that their passports and travel documents were collected by the State Security Services and was not returned till their victory at the Kaduna High Court.
“By now it is no news to most Nigerians that the leader of the Shia group, El-Zakzaky, and his wife are suffering from various health issues since their encounter with the Nigerian Army in 2015.
“After returning from their failed medical trip to India, their passports and travel documents was collected by State Security Services and was not returned till their landmark win in Kaduna High Court last year.
“The pair have been trying to leave the country to get the urgent medical attention they need. An official letter was reportedly sent to the DSS for the release of their travel documents, but the agency claimed they are not in possession of the passports. All other attempts to get their passports have proved abortive.
“The couple then approached the Nigerian Immigration Service to have new passports issued for both El-Zakzaky and his wife Mallama Zeenah. However, despite providing all the necessary documents required for the issuance of new travel documents, including paying all required fees the NIS refused to issue new passports to the couple.
“After exhausting all other available options, the couple decided to take the Nigerian Immigration Service to court for violating their fundamental human rights and infringing on their to movement and own moving property.
“The case filled before the Abuja high court dated 12/01/2022 accused the DG Nigerian Immigration Service of violation of their fundamental human rights.
“According to their counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, freedom to movement is a fundamental human right as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution, the African Union and internal declaration of human right.
"A person has the right to freedom as long as they abide by the law and all charges filed against the couple has been discharged by the Kaduna court.”