Thursday, February 25, 2016

Again, El-Zakzaky’s Absence Stalls Proceedings at Panel’s Sitting
By Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief
Nigerian Guardian
February 25, 2016 2:41 am

AGAIN, the absence of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky to testify in the on-going investigation by the judicial commission of inquiry probing the December, 2015 clash between soldiers and Shiites members has stalled proceedings at the panel.Counsel to the Islamic group protested against the denial of access to El-Zakzaky by security agents.

The panel had at its inaugural sitting on Monday adjourned till Wednesday (yesterday) following the absence of counsel for the Movement at the panel.

However, when the counsel to the Islamic Movement, Mr. Maxwel Kyon appeared before the panel yesterday, he pleaded for two weeks adjournment to enable him get access to El-Zakzaky.

Chairman of the commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Garba, asked counsel to the Nigerian Army, Mr. Abba Audu, if he opposed the two weeks pleading by El-Zakzaky’s lawyer. The army counsel responded that it was in the interest of justice.

On his part, counsel to the commission, Usman Yunus Ustaz (SAN) objected, stressing that two weeks was too long to be granted since the panel has only six weeks to conclude its sitting.

Though the commission chairman did not grant the time frame suggested by Zakzaky’s counsel, however, he adjourned the sitting till Monday, February 29, as a grace for the counsel to get access to his client.

Said Justice Garba: “We are adjourning till February 29, to enable you get access to your client, and whether you get access to him or not, you have to report back to the commission so that we can continue with the proceedings.”

Members of the Movement had earlier faulted the composition of the 13-man panel, saying some of its members are already biased about the group. They also kicked against the continued detention of El-Zakzaky, pointing out that they would not appear before the panel until he is released.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the adjournment of the commission’s sitting yesterday, Zakzaky’s counsel disclosed that the Shiites leader is in the custody of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), adding that the police and other security agencies are preventing him from having access to his client.

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