Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria.

By Oladapo Okeowo

Despite the issuance of a court order to the contrary, the Federal Government has refused to effect the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

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The leader, alongside his wife, was arrested last year by the Nigerian Army and has been in custody since.

According to The Guardian, a top presidency official who craved anonymity yesterday explained that the FG is disregarding the court order for the sake of public interest and national security.

His words: “The major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security.

“The issue of the release of Zakzaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.

“The Federal Government is looking into the case and taking security interest dimensions into consideration,” the official said.

Regarding his wife, the official said she is not under arrest. She can leave anytime she wants to.

According to him, she only is staying behind to cater to her husband.

“She is not under detention. If it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours,” he said

The Amnesty International had recently called for El-Zakzaky’s immediate release after the expiration of the 45-day ultimatum issued by the court. The international pressure group said a non-compliance would be a “flagrant – and dangerous – contempt for the rule of law.”