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El-Zakzaky, Wife Sue AGF, DSS Over Passport Seizure, Demand N4bn In Damages

The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, have each slammed a N2 billion suit against the Department of State Services and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

The suit which is at a Federal High Court in Abuja challenges the seizure of their international passports by the Federal Government despite serious health challenges.

The Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and Sections 44, 37,36 and 46 (1) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) was filed by Marshal Abubakar of Femi Falana chambers.

The Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) were listed as first and second defendants in the case with Ref. No: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 229/2021 and FHC/ABJ/CS/230/2021.

The plaintiffs in their separate originating motion-on-notice were seeking from the FHC a declaration that the seizure of their passport No A50578740 and A50578739 since May 2019 was illegal and unconstitutional as it violates their fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Other demands were an order of the Court mandating the respondents to pay over to the applicants “the sum of N2 billion as general and exemplary damage” for the violation of their “rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property” and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further violating their “fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”

The couple also wants a declaration from the Court that the Red Flag Travelling Restrictions placed on their passports and land borders “by the respondents without a court order is illegal and unconstitutional” as it violates his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The plaintiffs also want the Court to declare that the refusal of the respondents to allow them to travel abroad for medical treatment constitutes a threat to their lives guaranteed by Section 33 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

According to them, the Court should mandate the respondents to release their international passports in order to enable them to access prompt and adequate medical attention as recommended by their doctors.

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