Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Tuesday, said that Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMAN) is kept by government in public interest.
Shehu said this while fielding questions from journalists on human rights records of the government during a media chat in the state house as part of activities to celebrate the second anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration.
According to him, the ‘detention’ of the Shi’ite leader is also in his own interest, saying it is duty bound on government to ensure the safety of all its citizens.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Justice Gabriel Kolawola of an Abuja Federal High Court, in December 2016, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to release El-Zakzaky within 45 days.
Kolawole also ordered the Federal Government to provide an accommodation for El-Zakzaky, his wife and family members within Kaduna State or any part of the northern region.
The court declared the continuous detention of El-Zakzaky since December 13, 2015 as unlawful and illegal since the issue of protective custody was unknown to law or the National Security Agencies Act establishing the DSS.
However, Shehu noted El-Zakzaky could not be released as government considers the public and security implication.
“On the issue of El-Zakzaky, the information we have is that he is being kept more for his own safety that the offences he committed.
“If you set him free today, what do you think will likely be the reactions out there on the streets of Kaduna or in the streets of Zazzau where he comes from,” Shehu said.
On the why former National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki was still in dentention, Shehu said, Dasuki was still held because he had other criminal cases to answer.
He said Dasuki’s release might affect the ongoing investigation of cases against him.
“It is a common thing in all nations of the world that there are matters of public safety.
“The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, I think has made his points here in the State House, against individuals’ interests
“And in all cases, public good should override individual interest.’’