Nigerian Chief Justice condemns disobedience of court orders to release Sheikh Zakzaky

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has condemned disregard for court rulings, saying it is an act of impunity that is threatening the independence of the judiciary.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Mr. Onnoghen made this point on Wednesday at the Senate during his screening for confirmation as the substantive CJN, having been so recommended by the National Judicial Council, NJC, and nominated for the position by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, allafrica reported.

If rulings are not respected, the judge continued, they would just be "mere piece of paper."

"Anyway, disobedience of court order is an act of impunity," he said. 'But excuse me from further comments."

Mr. Onnoghen said this amid growing criticisms of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for disregard for the rule of law.

The government has ignored repeated rulings to free the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Ibrahim Zakzaky.

The prominent cleric and his wife were taken into custody on December 14, 2115, after deadly clashes between the supporters of the IMN movement and Nigerian troops.

Nearly 350 members of the Shia movement were killed in the clashes. The sheikh was brutally injured and his house was reportedly destroyed by the army in the incident.

The judge said he had given 45 days for authorities to provide new accommodation for the Zakzaky family. The accommodation is to be in the town of Zaria, Kaduna state, where the family were detained, or in other parts of the state or alternatively any other part of northern Nigeria.

Kolawole said the State Security Service would pay each of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife $78,984 in compensation for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody for nearly a year.

Nearly 100 IMN supporters were killed when Nigerian forces fired live rounds and tear gas at mourners during a peaceful march ahead of the Arbaeen mourning rituals, which mark 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam. Authorities also destroyed a number of buildings belonging to the IMN.

The Nigerian government has stepped up its crackdown on the IMN since the December 2015 deadly incident.

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