El-Zakzaky And Wife Sue FG Over Passport Seizure, Asks For N4bn
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Nigerian Islamic Movement, and his wife, Zeenat, have filed a lawsuit in the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the seizure of their international passports by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by Femi Falana Chambers on October 14 said they were informed their passports had been flagged by the DSS when they tried to renew them through the Immigration Service, despite the fact that their passports were last seen in the possession of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which has officially denied that it was in their possession.
The pair sued the court in separate lawsuits to order the DSS and the AGF to return their passports and lift the red flag limitations, claiming that the secret agency had rejected all requests to do so.
They also urged the court to declare the seizure of their passports, which has been ongoing since May 2019, as illegal and unconstitutional because it infringes on their fundamental right to free movement.
They are also demanding N2 billion in damages as general and legal expenses for the breach of their right to freedom of movement.
The reliefs they are seeking include;
“A declaration that the seizure of the Applicants Passport No A50578740 since May 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his 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.
“A declaration that the Red Flag Travelling Restrictions placed on the Applicants Passport 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.
“A declaration that the refusal of the Respondents to allow the Applicant to travel abroad for medical treatment constitutes a threat to his life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to release the Applicant’s international passport number A50578740 to him in order to enable him to access prompt and adequate medical attention as recommended by his physicians.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to lift the Red Flag Restrictions (and all or every form of restriction howsoever) placed on the International Passport number A50578740 of the Applicant by agents of the Respondents forthwith.
“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to pay over to the applicant the sum of Two Billion Naira (N2,000,000,000.00) as general and exemplary damages for the violation of the Applicant’s rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents from further violating the Applicants fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”