Chris Steven, Abuja
As pressure mounts from concerned stakeholders calling for his unconditional release of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, indication emerged on Thursday that the government is not likely to release him soon.
The source in the Presidency who craved anonymity,said that Zakzaky was being held on security grounds and not religious as was being speculated in some quarters.
The source also explained that the major constitutional policy objective of government as stated in section 14 (2) (b) is public and not individual security,hence Zakzaky’s detention.
“The issue of the release of zak zaky is not exclusively legal. It has security and public interest as against individual interest undertones.
“Public interest and national security implications must be factored into consideration in line with international practices that conventionally place national security and public interest above any other individual claim of right.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is looking into the case with the public and security interest dimensions,” the official said.
On the said detention of the religious leader’s wife along side her husband, the official stated that El-Zakzaky’s wife was not of any security interests and therefore was merely keeping her husband company in the apartment in which he is kept.
“She is not under detention. If it is her wish, that of her husband or of the IMAN, she will be allowed to go home in a matter of hours,” he asserted.
He explained that El-Zakzaky’s spouse was picked up by the Department of Security Services, DSS beside her husband with bullet wounds, following IMN’s encounter with the army.
“They took her along with the husband, treated her wounds and allowed her to care for her husband. Upon his request on an occasion, the children joined them during Ramadan. That is what happened.”
El-Zakzaky became a guest of the DSS,following a bloody encounter between his followers and men of the Nigerian army in Kaduna State.
In Abuja, the nation’s capital, posters are seen on strategic locations calling for his immediate release.