Nigeria: El-Zakzaky’s Continued Ordeal

It is now getting to eight months since Sheikh Zakzaky and wife, Zeenah Ibraheem, were discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna High Court of all the criminal charges levelled against them after spending almost six years in illegal detention.

One would have thought that it will be a matter of days or couple of months at most for the duo to jet out of the country to attend to their health that deteriorated in the course of their stay in detention. The Kaduna High Court in passing its judgement made it categorically clear that the couple were not only innocent and thus discharged and acquitted, but are also entitled to freedom like every other citizen as enshrined in the constitution of the country, including among others, the right to attend to their health in any place of their choice.

But the Nigerian government in a show of contempt to a court of competent jurisdiction, continued its systemic persecution of the ailing couple, this time by withholding their travel documents in a bid to frustrate their quest for proper medical attention. The NIA and NIS initially denied withholding the couple’s travel documents, but later admitted that they were lost. The office of the AGF went as far as claiming that the couple are not suffering from any life-threatening condition that warrants overseas treatment. When and how did the AGF become a diagnostician, capable of tracing what ailments should be attended to in the country?

It is worth noting that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are still suffering from various life-threatening health problems as evidenced by series of investigations result done recently-after their release from detention- at both public and private health facilities. Of greatest concern is the Sheikh’s lead and mercury poisoning which is yet to be addressed, notwithstanding the dangerous serum level. The story is no different for his wife, Zeenah, who has been confined to wheelchair for almost six years now.

The couple have suffered enough. As a moral obligation, people of conscience, clergies and statesmen are pleased urged to demand that government allows the Sheikh and his wife to attend to their health. As the saying goes, injustice to one is injustice to all.

Najeeb Maigatari, Jigawa State, and could be reached via Maigatari313@gmail.com

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