The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, says he would not bow to pressure to release Shi’ite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The governor spoke on Friday night in a live radio interview monitored by DAILY NIGERIAN in Abuja.
Mr El-Rufai said the state government went tough on the Shi’ite leader because the people of Kaduna state suffered under Mr El-Zakzaky’s excesses.
“We agree [his fate is in our hands] but with a correction. The fate of El-Zakzaky is not in the hands of Kaduna State Government but the Kaduna State High Court. What the federal government means here is that it did not charge El-Zakzaky to court. The federal government detained him in Abuja after the [Zaria] crisis.
“While El-Zakzaky was in detention in Abuja, we sat down and conducted investigations on the atrocities, crimes, infringement of rights he and his followers committed in the last 30 years in Zaria.
“After the conclusion of the investigation, we requested the federal government to hand him over to us for trial in Kaduna.
“The clamour for the release of El-Zakzaky was not directed at us but the federal government. Since we took him to court nobody asked us to release him.
“And we will not release him until court he is cleared by the court. It was Kaduna State High Court that ordered for his detention in the Kaduna prison.
“He was the one who requested that he be detained by the SSS not prison. If a person is awaiting trial, he is normally remanded in prison custody. But he opted for the SSS detention facility where he will not suffer.
“Since the SSS is detaining him without the order of the court, our lawyers sought order from the court for El-Zakzaky to be taken back to prison.
“As we speak now, Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife are in Kaduna prison, and they will remain there till the end of their trial.
“We don’t know when the court will decide, but we will not release him because of the atrocities he and his followers committed against the people of Kaduna State.
“If the court acquits him, we have no option. But we will not release him no matter the public outcry, no matter the demonstration, no matter the pressure from foreign countries… They are just wasting their time. As long as I am the governor, El-Zakzaky will never be released until the end of his trial. But whatever the court decides, I will execute the judgement.”