PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: IHRC urges government to obey new court order and free Sheikh Zakzaky


IHRC reiterates its demand for the Nigerian government to release the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and his wife following a direction from the Federal High Court in Abuja that it frees the pair or face contempt proceedings.
The court said unless the Director General, State Security Service Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation obeyed its direction contained in the order of the Federal High Court of Justice delivered on 2 December, 2016, which ordered the release of Sheikh Zakzaky and Mallam zeenah within 40 days, they would be guilty of contempt of court and would be liable to be imprisoned.
The Zakzakys have been held without charge since their arrest during a savage military assault against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in December 2015. Both were shot during the attack in Zaria in which at least 1000 IMN supporters, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.
IHRC has repeatedly expressed concerns about the flagrancy with which the security services and Attorney General are continuing to flout both domestic and international law and indeed operate outside all legal norms.
In addition to ignoring the law courts the government has also planed false stories in the media including one published in the Daily Trust (26 January 2017) that the government had appealed the 2 December High Court order.
IHRC believes that with the Nigerian government seemingly unwilling to take the bull by the horns it falls on the international community to ratchet up the pressure on President Buhari to ensure that fundamental human rights and the rule of law are upheld.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “As if the barefaced contempt with which Nigerian officials are flouting the law wasn’t bad enough they are also abusing their powers to misrepresent the truth. It is indeed ironic that the security services, who have falsely accused the IMN of defying the law, are now being taken to task for the same thing.”
Notes to editors:
In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members. The report can be found at

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
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