Monday, March 14, 2016 6:51 pm
*Non access slowing down commission of enquiry
Secretary of the commission, Bala Bajr has given the sect up to March 21, to submit its memorandum to the panel.
But the lawyer and members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria are insisting they need to see the religious leader. The IMN is the umbrella organisation for all Shiites.
A statement signed by the commission’s Secretary, Bala Babj on Monday in Kaduna, after the panel adjourned sitting till March 21, said the memorandum would form the basis for the sect’s appearance before the panel.
It noted that the panel had sat for four weeks out of the six weeks allotted to complete its assignment, “consequently we deem it imperative for the work of the commission to now proceed in earnest.”
The statement said it was imperative for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to submit its memorandum ahead of hearing commencing on March 21.
“The commission has strived hard to afford all parties to be fairly represented and treated with justice and fairness in all its deliberations,” the statement further said.
During the sitting, Chairman of the commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal-Garba said the panel would officially begin proper proceedings on March 21 “ whether IMN has access to its leader or not.“
“We give another opportunity to allow IMN to see their leader because the application for adjournment is supported by all the parties appearing before the panel,“ Lawal-Garba said.
The IMN lead counsel, Yunus Ustaz-Usman (SAN), had said that all efforts to get access to the sect’s leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, had failed.
“We did the best we could, but because of the busy schedule of the Attorney General of the Federation, we could not go through him.
“But we met with the Attorney General of Kaduna State, who spoke to the Attorney General of the Federation on phone in our presence.
“We were in Abuja for four days, trying to see him, but he was too busy, and before we know it he flew out of the country.
“We are still very optimistic that the Attorney General of the Federation will facilitate IMN counsel access to the leader of IMN; this is how far we have gone.
“In this circumstance, we crave for the commission’s indulgence for another opportunity, the last opportunity, for the IMN counsel to get access to their client.“ Usman appealed.
Both counsel to the Army and that of IMN, Mr Biola Oyebanji and Maxwell Kyon, respectively, supported the application for adjournment.
The panel had adjourned sitting three times – Feb. 22, Feb. 29 and March 14 – to allow counsel to the sect have access to El-Zakzaky.