Allow El-ZakZaky’s trial to take its course, Buhari’s aide tells Shiites

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Buhari
President Buhari

A senior aide to President Muhammadu Buhari has advised the Shiites to allow the court trial of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, to “take its course,” saying only then can they expect to get justice.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, also said that the President should not be held responsible for the continued incarceration of the Shiite leader after he had been granted bail in 2016, noting that Buhari “will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free.”

Shehu also decried what he described as “openly insulting the President and other leaders” because of the matter, condemning the religious group for allegedly “threatening bloodshed.”

It may be recalled that since the arrest and incarceration of the Shiite leader and his wife, Zinat, in 2015, the religious leader has remained in custody.

His followers have continued to press for his release, sometimes resulting in bloody clashes with law enforcement agents.

However, on Friday, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, took to his verified Twitter handle @GarShehu, urging El-Zakzaky’s followers to allow their leader’s trial to proceed without the followers’ intervention.

See Garba Shehu’s series of tweets:

“The destruction of public property in the name of protest is not within the right of this group of Shiite members and no government anywhere would have tolerated a situation where any group would take over public roads in cities as they have done in Abuja and interfere with the rights of other citizens who are prevented from reaching their destinations.

“We imagine a situation where families are taking their loved ones to hospital for emergency treatment and they are held up needlessly by the protesters. No government anywhere in the world would turn a blind eye to this unlawful behavior.

“As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain.

“The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted everyday.

These rallies and street dances ostensibly to openly insult the President and other leaders, threatening bloodshed will lead nowhere because President Buhari will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free.

“At the same time, the administration is determined to enforce the decision of the court clearly issued. The Buhari administration has absolutely no hand in the on-going court case and the courts are free to determine the bail request and the final outcome.

“The mentality that you are above the law and that your own rights are superior to other people’s rights is unacceptable.

“You can’t be provoking other citizens by interfering with their own rights on public roads and disrupting their businesses and call it democratic freedom. In democratic traditions, their rights end where the rights of others begin.

“It is always advisable to embrace dialogue and eschew violence in all our actions so that we can continue to live together in peace.

“We therefore appeal to the Shiite group to stop deliberate provocations that result in violence and fatalities and allow the trial of El-ZakZaky to take its course.

“It is wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time in order to get justice for anybody accused.

“The issue of El-ZakZaky is before the court in Kaduna and his supporters should focus on his on-going trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.

“The Presidency appeals to El-Zakzaky-led Shiite members to desist from needless violent street protests and await the decision of the court in Kaduna where their leader is currently being tried.”

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