By Abdulmumin Giwa
Counsels to the Army and the Chief of Army Staff, COAS have appeared in court after being absent in an earlier sitting for separate cases between Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenat Ibrahim on the one hand and the Army, COAS, Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Kaduna state on the other hand.
Barrister Biola Oyebanjo who headed the team of lawyers representing the Army and COAS apologized to the court for being absent in an earlier sitting saying it was not out of disrespect for the court.
He had submitted his response to the court on 6th of June and the applicants in the case would need some time to examine it.
Barrister U.C Okoli the State Counsel, Federal Ministry of Justice stood in for the Accountant General of the Federation was yet to file in his response and sorted for time to do that as well.
The case taking place at the Federal High Court in Kaduna before Justice S.M. Shuaibu is on the enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights of the Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife Malama zeenat Ibrahim.
The Judge sorted for a cumulative hearing of all the motions to be submitted by the respondents for which an agreed date was fixed.
Justice Shuaibu said, “being a case that borders around liberty which is next to life, there is need for speedy hearing” he fixed 17th June 2016 to allow for the hearing of all pending motions preparatory to the hearing in the cases.
The Counsel representing Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, Maxwel Kyom accepted a motion seeking the court to fix another hearing date to allow for respondents in the case to hand over their counter affidavits which the judge conceded to and the same process was adopted for the case between Malama Zeenat and the respondents.
The Counsel to the Attorney General of Kaduna state, Bayero Dari accepted the court’s decision on the matter in which his client is involved.
All pending motions would be taken on the 17th June 2016 in both the two cases before the court.
It would be recalled that between 12th to 14th December 2015 the Nigerian Army attacked the Gyallesu residence of the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in Zaria.
This took place after the entourage of COAS was said to have been blocked by members of the movement along Sokoto road in Zaria while commemorating a flag hoisting event.
The incident led to an attack on the residence of the Sheikh by the army in which he and his wife were shot severally and three of their sons killed at gunpoint while a compound in the house was set ablaze leading to the burning of some people alive including the Sheikh’s sister.
The Sheikh was abducted and kept in detention without any charges for over five months and over 1000 members of the IMN were declared missing.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna state government had confessed burying 347 corpses in a mass grave with the help of the Army before a Judicial Commission set up by the state government to inquire into the incident.