After protracted legal arguments in the court of law, respite may have come the way of the embattled leader of the now proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenatu.
The Kaduna State High Court on Monday ordered their release and granted El-Zakzaky and wife bail on health grounds.
The couple is expected to visit Mandeta Hospital in New Delhi, India for treatment.
The order for El-Zakzaky and his wife to travel for medical treatment came a week after his organization was proscribed by the Buhari’s administration.
The move has been widely criticised as violating the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
But in its ruling on possibility of the duo seeking treatment abroad, the court held that the prosecution had failed to prove that El-Zakzaky would be a flight risk, just as the defense team had continuously established the couple’s worsening health conditions in custody.
El-Zakzaky incurred the wrath of the state in 2015 after his members clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Consequently, his abode, IMN headquarters in Zaria was raided. During the fracas that later ensued between the soldiers and members of the sects, at least 347 Shiites were reportedly killed, while a soldiers also lost his live.
Among other accusations, the government had castigated the group for not recognizing the Nigerian constitution and authority.
Meanwhile, recent protests by the group have resulted in violence, with a journalist and a police officer killed two weeks ago in Abuja.
The group said the shootings were done by the police, and the government has not shown evidence the IMN carried out the attacks.
El-Zakzaky’s prolonged detention despite several court orders for his release fueled protests by Shiites in Kaduna and many other cities in Nigeria.
However, it is still not clear whether government will obey the latest bail granted El-Zakzaky and wife.