Nigeria’s High Court judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole Friday ruled the delayed release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat. The Judge awarded N50 million in his ruling and said, “I have given the 45 days as a reprieve for the Inspector-General of Police, Attorney-General of the Federation in conjunction with the DSS to provide the new accommodation before their release.”
This passes as one of the most repulsive, ridiculous, insensitive and irresponsible rulings that can be imagined, to put it mildly, and raises serious questions about the integrity of the judge while casting further aspersion on the spate of the Nigerian judicial system as a whole.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat have been held for a year unconstitutionally as justice Kolawole acknowledged in his ruling. Rather than order their immediate and unconditional release, Justice Kolawole further sentenced the victims of gross injustice to a time space of as many as 45 further days under the care of the very DSS and Federal Government who according to the ruling had transgressed the law and acted above the law by detaining the duo for a year already. This is an abuse of justice, an insult to reason and a gross violation of human rights being openly and brazenly sanctioned by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.
Justice Kolawole swore and oath to protect the constitution of Nigeria. He has already permitted the victims stay a year in jail with justice delayed thus far, while the constitution states that trial must be conducted within 48 hours arrest and Nigerians must be accorded bail as the law states. There are reasons for this which Justice Kolawole of all people should know and does know.
Would Justice Kolawole Like His Family To Be Detained 45 Days While They Look For A House For Them?
A day in jail denied justice is a sentence too long for a person, talk-less an additional days 45 days. One simply has to ask Justice Kolawole how he would feel if he is held in detention against his will and in violation of the constitution for 10 days. What if his wife is held for just 5 days? The Nigerian constitution does not have any provision for the detention of citizens while the government finds accommodation for them. This is ridiculous, preposterous and a clear case of grave perversion of justice.
After rejecting State counsel Tijani’s asinine claims of “protection custody,” the confused or extremely callous justice yet denied the victims their immediate right to freedom. Does Justice Kolawole think Nigerians are dogs to be locked up at will “while they look for house for them?” Such a judgement from the High court puts the probity of Nigeria’s entire judicial system into serious question and once again disgraces Nigeria to the observing world.
To add insult to injury, Sheikh Zakzaky and Zeenat being further detained against their will by the concerted team of Justice Kolawole, Nigeria’s Attorney General and the DSS under Buhari’s watch, are victims of a globally condemned brutal military action last December. From the 12th to the 14th the Nigerian army under authorization of General Tukur Yusuf Buratai invaded the home of Sheikh Zakzaky and shot him six times, shot his wife Zeenat at least three times and killed their three sons right in their faces according to accounts from the injured surviving eye-witness, their daughter Suhaila.
Their home was further instantly burned and demolished on the authority of the Kaduna state government headed by Nasir el-Rufai and the Chief of the Army. Not only this but the grave sites of three of their other sons killed the year before by the then Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal government, were exhumed.
Their three sons killed last December under the Buhari government and the bodies of their exhumed sons along with over 300 other Muslim victims were then secretly buried at night in a mass grave, only to be admitted to several months later. Having suffered this amount of unimaginable terror and trauma, Sheikh Zakzaky who suffered paralyzing injuries in the extra-judicial raid and lost his sight in one eye with the other on the verge of blindness, was detained and not allowed to meet with and mourn with his surviving son and two daughters. Zakzaky and wife have since been detained and not allowed to visit the graves of their children or to attend the wedding of last on Muhammad.
After all this, to imagine that a cold-blooded Justice Kolawole would delay their release and only award N50 million, the equivalent of $100,000 to the family who lost their children, home, livelihood, reputation and a year of their lives illegally and unconstitutionally detained, does not only beget the anger of man but invites the Wrath of God on the Justice and Nigeria as a whole.
We strongly implore the Nigerian Judicial counsel investigate Justice Gabriel Kolawole’s probity in this case and dissect him for embranglement and possible compromise.
The Judiciary is the last resort for the people and the backbone of the nation. The Judiciary is the only protection of the people and of the law, not even the president who swore and oath to abide by and defend the constitution without partiality to friend and without favor. No one must be above the law and the integrity of Nigeria’s judges directly determine the integrity of the nation.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole made no recommendations for the urgent investigation and arrest of the culprits in the December 2015 Zaria Massacre. He made no recommendations for the exhumation of Mando grave to look for Sheikh Zakzaky’s children’s bodies and ascertain the true culpability of those who broke the law and insulted God by secretly and criminally burying Zakzaky’s children and other Nigerians in such undignified manner.
Nigeria is suffering today due to God’s Wrath, a recompense for our actions. God answers the prayers of the oppressed even if they are disbelievers, the prophet of Islam allegedly warned.
It is time for Justice Gabriel Kolawole to retire.
It is also time for the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat and for their compensation commensurate with the crimes against Nigeria’s conscience and the entire record of children of Adam, mounted on them.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian