Passport issuance: El-Zakzaky, wife objects to NIS motion to join DSS, NIA

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Leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and wife,  Zeenah, objected to the request by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to join the Department of State Services (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in a suit.

El-Zakzaky and wife expressed their objection after counsel to the NIS, Jimoh Adamu, served on the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mrs Funmi Falana, a motion to join the DSS and NIA in the suit which came up on Tuesday before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

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Adamu, who filed the motion earlier in the morning, had said that joining the parties would also help the court in its decision and for the sake of fair hearing.

 Falana objected to the motion for joinder on the ground that the reason for filing the suit, she argued, had nothing to do with either the DSS or NIA.

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She argued that since the Immigration Service was statutorily empowered to issue travel documents, the DSS and NIA had nothing to do with the applicants’ claims.

According to her, the plaintiffs have approached the court to seek an order declaring that the violation of their right to freedom of movement in the denial of the issuance of passports to them to enable them seek medical care abroad is unconstitutional.

She said her clients had applied to seek an enforcement of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.

Justice Egwuatu then adjourned the matter until Feb. 14 for the argument to be taken.

The judge said this became necessary on the ground that the motion had not been studied by the court and more time would be needed to go through it.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zennah, had in another N4 billion suits before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a sister court, dragged the DSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) before the court over allegation bordering on their passports seizure.

Meanwhile, the couple sued the NIS before Justice Egwuatu over the refusal to release their international passports.

The duo, who listed the NIS and its Comptroller General as 1st and 2nd defendants, prayed the court to enforce their fundamental right.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/22/2022 and filed by their lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, dated and filed on Jan. 11, 2022, 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.(NAN)

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