By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Kaduna State Government has charged the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, with different criminal offences including homicide amid sustained protest by members of his sect to secure his release.
El-Zakzaky was charged alongside his wife, Zeenah Ibrahim, Yakub Katsina and Sanusi Koki for allegedly involving in the murder of Corporal Yakuku Dankaduna on December 12, 2015 contrary to section 47 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State, 2017.
The eight-count charge, which had already been filed before a Kaduna State High Court, Kaduna Judicial Division, was signed by six prosecutors namely Chris Umar, Bayero Dari, A. Isiaka, M.D. Joseph, U.N. Dauda and S. Azer on April 18, 2018.
The charge with No: KDH/KAD/60/2018 alleged that the sect leaders agreed with their members “to commit an illegal act with dangerous weapons such as pistols, guns, dane guns, cutlasses, knives, catapult, axes, clubs and sticks and blocked Sokoto, Sabon Gari and other major roads in Zaria and its environs.”
During a procession the sect organised on December 12, 2015, the charge alleged that members of the sect prevented the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai and the public from gaining access to the roads and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 59 of the State Penal Coder Law.
It also alleged that the sect leaders aided the murder of Corporal Yakuku Dankaduna in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff during the December 12, 2015 bloody clash between their members and the soldiers in the convoy in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The charge alleged that the defendants committed “an offence of voluntarily causing grievous homicide without provocation by encouraging members of the sect to attack one Colonel Faggo Babayo, which resulted to various degrees of injury on his body.”
As a result, it alleged, the defendants caused a breach of peace and disturbed the peace of the people of Zaria and its environs, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 47 and punishable under section 78 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State, 2017.
It added that the offence was committed by blocking Sokoto road and other major roads in Zaria, thereby causing the death of Corporal Yakuku Dankaduna of the Nigerian Army while dispersing members of the sect and clearing road for the army chief.
The charge alleged that the defendants promoted an unlawful assembly by encouraging people to join the sect, claiming that the sect was not a registered organisation.
In a statement yesterday, counsel to the defendants, Mr. Femi Falana said since a Federal High Court had ordered the release of El-Zakzaky and his wife on December 2, 2016, the federal government had not justified why it treated the court order with contempt.
With the ongoing protests by the sect members to compel the federal government to comply with the court order, Falana said the state government charged El-Zakzaky and other defendants with culpable homicide and allied offences
The defence counsel however, lamented that the soldiers who killed 347 of the sect members “have since been pardoned.”