The Department of State Services (DSS) says Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Shi’ite sect in Nigeria, is in its custody for his own safety.
Speaking with journalists at the federal high court in Abuja, on Tuesday, Tijjani Gazali, counsel to the DSS, said that El-Zakzaky was being held “at his own will and for his benefit.”
“He need not give his consent, but the point is he remains vulnerable and is under protective custody and the job of the DSS is to protect every Nigerian,” Gazali said.
But Festus Okoye, counsel to the Shi’ite leader, countered the claim of the DSS, saying that the secret police breached the fundamental rights of his client by detaining him.
“They told us that he is being held at his own will, but we are yet to hear that from him. So until we consult him and he says that then we can confirm it,” Okoye said.
Hearing in a fundamental rights suit brought by El-Zakzaky against the government before Gabriel Kolawole, the judge, was adjourned to July 13.
The Shi’ite leader is demanding his immediate release from detention, and N2bn as compensation for damages inflicted on him and his followers.
In December, members of the Shi’ite sect had clashed with the army, resulting in the death of at least 300 persons.