A Kaduna State High Court on Thursday adjourned hearing, in the application for permission to travel to India for medical attention filed by Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zinat, to July 29, 2019.
This is just as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) followers alleged that their leader and his wife are being poisoned in detention by government.
The IMN leader and his wife had applied to the court seeking to travel abroad to seek medical attention in view of their failing health condition while in detention. However, the Free Zakzaky Committee of the IMN in a statement, issued after the court sitting, accused the court of failing to stand for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
The Kaduna state Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Dari Bayero told newsmen after the hearing that the adjournment was sequel to an application by the team of Counsel prosecuting the IMN leader. He said that the team requested for time to examine the medical reports that accompanied IMN leader’s application and authenticate its genuiness before putting up their argument before the court.
Justice Darius Khobo granted the request and adjourned till July 29, to give time to the state counsels, who are prosecuting the substantive suit against the IMN leader and his wife Zinat.
The IMN leader brought the application before the court seeking permission to travel to Medanta Hospital, New Delhi, India for medical attention following his failing health condition. El-Zakzaky said if granted the permission to travel, he and his wife would return to Nigeria as soon as they are discharged upon satisfied medical report.
The IMN leader, who has been in detention since 2015, is standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace among other charges in another court.
Justice Gideon Kurada, who was handling the case, on April 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely. The indefinite adjournment was to enable the judge serve on the panel of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe state. Before the indefinite adjournment, the court had on Jan. 22, ordered the Kaduna state government to avail the IMN leader and his wife Zinat, access to medical attention.
The lead counsel to the IMN leader, Femi Falana (SAN) told newsmen after Thursday’s adjournment that his clients, El-Zakzaky and wife Zinat, were in dire need of medical attention. Falana said that his clients had not been given adequate medical care since their detention on December 14, 2015.
He expressed concern over the continued deterioration of his clients’ health, while expressing optimism that at the resumed hearing of the application on July 29, the Court would grant them the permission to travel for urgent medical attention.
The Free Zakzaky Committee in a statement signed by its Chairman Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola said, it was unfortunate that, “the court once again shirked in its duties to be on the side of victims of extreme persecution by the government. When it mattered most, the court ducked and failed to stand for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
“The applicants are known to be very ill in detention, consequent on the brutal wounds unjustifiably inflicted on them by the state agents in the name of Nigerian army, the resultant prolonged dehumanizing detention in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the obvious poisoning of the Sheikh. As a result of all these physical and psychological stresses, the Sheikh suffered series of mild strokes and is at the risk of further recurrences.
“Meanwhile, he lost one eye following the military attack and is at a severe risk of losing sight completely in the other. He is now found to have more than twenty times the toxic levels of lead poison in his body! Similarly, the wife has been under excruciating pains with shrapnel deeply lodged in her body for all these years of inhuman conditions in detention.
“She now is able to ambulate only with the use of a wheelchair. Even today both were unable to walk to the court room and had to wait outside while the case went on. In spite of all these, the court once again has allowed the government to kill these innocent people by instalments via unnecessary delays.
“We continue to give praises to the Almighty for further evidence that the Nigerian government is both unable and unwilling to serve justice, not even through the courts. This further proves to the world that the Movement and its leader have been and continue to be only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the Buhari-led government.”