Absence of defence stalls El-Zakzaky’s suit against NIS, DSS, NIA

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  • Photo: El-Zakzaky and wife*
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Proceeding in a suit filed by leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, against Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), on Wednesday, suffered a setback due to the absence of counsel for the defence in court.
The development occurred shorty after the matter was called for mention at a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Obiora Egwuatu.
While Marshal Abubakar, who was lawyer to the plaintiffs (El-Zakzaky and Zeenah), was in court, counsel for the NIS, Department of State Services (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were conspicuously absent.

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Abubakar, who held the brief of Femi Falana, SAN, therefore informed Justice Egwuatu that NIS lawyer called him on phone earlier in the morning to apologise that he won’t be able to attend the day’s sitting.
He said the lawyer sought for a short adjournment.
After listening to Abubakar, Egwuatu adjourned the matter until June 1 for further mention of the substantive suit.
It would be recalled that the NIS counsel, Jimoh Adamu had, on Feb. 14, 2022, approached the court with a motion for joinder.
Adamu prayed the court to join DSS and NIA in the suit instituted by leader of the IMN and wife.
Abubakar, however, disagreed with Adamu’s  application, urging the court to dismiss it.
But Egwuatu, while ruling on the motion for joined, ruled in NIS favour.

The judge joined DSS and NIA as 3rd and 4th defendants respectively. 
It would be recalled that the couple had sued the NIS over alleged refusal to reissue new international passports for them.

The duo, who listed the NIS and its Comptroller General as 1st and 2nd defendants, prayed the court to enforce their fundamental rights.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/22/2022 dated and filed by their lawyer, Falana, El-Zakzaky and his wife said they had the right to freedom of movement as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Right.

They prayed the court to declare that the refusal of the NIS to process their travel documents to enable them travel abroad is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
El-Zakzaky and Zennah had, in another N4 billion suit before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a sister court, also dragged the DSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the court over allegation bordering on their passports seizure.

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