By; Amos Mathew, Kaduna.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as the Shi’ite group yesterday made a u-turn and appeared before the judicial Commission of inquiry, but maintained its position not to submit any memorandum until it has access to the leader of the movement, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, an effort the Counsel to the movement alleged is being frustrated.
Although, the movement through its counsel at the last proceedings of 29th February, 2016 told the commission of its willingness to withdraw it’s representation until and unless it gains access to its client, but it appeared yesterday to brief the commission of all the efforts to see the leader of the movement which it said has so far proved abortive.
In his submission, Festus Okoye Esq who stood in for the Movement told the Commission how, onbehalf of the movement, a letter was written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) which was followed by a meeting when it became clear that their client was not in the custody of the Police.
“We then met with the Director General of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) on the 9th February, 2016 and we had a meeting with him for two hours, yet we could not see our client.
“Another meeting was scheduled for 19th February, 2016, I met him and we discussed for one hour where he told me that only three of us will be allowed to see the leader of the Movement; myself, Femi Falana (SAN) and Dr Shaibu Musa.
“He asked us to see him on the 24th February, 2016 by 4pm and we waited till 7pm and we were not given access to see him and up till this moment we have not met with our client.
“It seems to me that there are issues bordering on national security and health, I believe the national security can be managed but the legal team of the commission should ascertain his state of health.
“If this is ascertained, we must be given proper and unhindered access to him because by 12th of this month, it will make it three months and yet to be charged to court.
“Based on this, we are not in position to properly, professionally and ethically represent the IMN but with access to him, we can come back and properly represent our client.”
In view of the submission of the Counsel to IMN, Counsel to the Commission,Yusuf Ali (SAN) prayed the commission to order that the Attorney General of Kaduna State and Attorney General of the Federation liaise with the Counsel to the commission and see to it that the counsel to the IMN is given access to see the leader of the movement and get briefings from him.
The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Garba granted the request of the Commission’s Counsel as prayed and adjourned the sitting till 14th March 2016 to report back to the commission on whether or not access to the leader of the movement has been actualized.
It would be recalled that the commission since it started sitting on the 22nd February, 2016 has ajourned sitting four times.
It ajourned from the -inaugural sitting on the 22nd February to the 24th, then to the 29th and to yesterday 7th March and now to the 14th March, 2016 all due to the inability of the Counsel to the IMN to see their client.
The Chairman of the commission again reiterated the commitment of the Commission to conduct a fair, just and thorough investigation into the clashes without any fear or favour to any party involved.