By; Amos Tauna, Kaduna.
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating Zaria Shi’ite/Army clash, Monday in Kaduna said that it will commence proceedings by March 21 whether or not the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) submits its memorandum or not.
However, the Commission adjourned again for the fifth time till March 21, 2016, to enable the Counsel to the IMN get access to its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Elzakzaky, as demanded by the Counsel from the inaugural sitting of the Panel about four weeks ago.
Adjourning the sitting, Chairman of the Commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Garba said the Commission was running out of time from the six weeks allotted to it by the Kaduna State Government, stressing that Monday’s adjournment will be the last whether IMN has access to its leader or not for proper proceedings to commence.
He urged the IMN counsel to submit their memorandum before or on March 21, as the Commission would go ahead on that day to hear the Army side of the memorandum.
“We give another opportunity to allow IMN to see their leader because the application for adjournment is supported by all the parties appearing before the panel,” he said.
Earlier, one of the leading counsels to the Commission, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN), informed the Commission that all efforts made to get access to the leader of the Islamic Movement failed.
Usman explained that in order to ensure that Elzakzaky was seen and met before Monday’s sitting, the Kaduna State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Amina Dyeris-Sijuwade was contacted, who in turn contacted the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to ease access to IMN leader to no avail.
He therefore appealed to the Commission to give another opportunity to the IMN by adjourning to another date in order to ensure the IMN leader could be accessed.
“We did the best we could, but because of the busy schedule of the Attorney General of the Federation, we could not go through him. We met with the Attorney General of Kaduna State and she spoke to the Attorney General of the Federation on phone in our presence, we were in Abuja for four days, trying to see him, but he was too busy. And before we know it, he flew out of the country.
“We are still very optimistic that the Attorney General of the Federation will facilitate IMN counsel access to the leader of IMN. This is how far we have gone.
“In this circumstance, we crave for the Commission’s indulgence for another opportunity, the last opportunity for the IMN counsel to get access to their client,” Usman pleaded.
The Counsels to the Army and IMN, Mr. Biola Oyebanji and Maxwell Kyon, respectively supported the application for the adjournment.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Commission, Dr Bala Babaji addressed the press shortly after the adjournment saying, “The Commission has strived hard to afford all parties to be fairly represented and treated with justice and fairness in all its deliberations.
“The Commission intends to proceed with its deliberations on Monday, March 21, 2016 by taking the memorandum submitted by the Nigerian Army.
“The Commission will furthermore issue to the public its schedule of appearances and presentations in due course while Counsels to the IMN are to submit their memorandum no later than March 21, 2016.
Recall that the commission ajourned from the inaugural sitting on the 22nd February to the 24th, then to the 29th and to 7th March and then to the 14th March, and again to March 21, 2016, all due to the inability of the counsels to the IMN to see their client.