The El-Zakzakys and half freedom

It has been more than a couple months since the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and his wife, Malama Zeenah, were acquitted and discharged- of all charges filed against them, after spending almost six years in illegal detention. 

The couple who were arrested in December 2015 have been languishing in the custody of State Security Service, before later being transferred to Kaduna Correctional facility in early December 2019, with inadequately treated life threatening gunshot injuries and numerous health complications. 

It could be recalled that in July 2019 the couple had to be granted bail to urgently travel to India in order to attend to their failing health that kept deteriorating as days go by, an effort which was, unfortunately, deliberately frustrated by security agents which resulted in the couple prematurely aborting the trip without receiving medical attention. 

Now that the couple are acquitted of all charges filed against them by the Kaduna state government, justice demands that they should be allowed to attend to their health in wherever they choose to go, without undue frustrations whatsoever. But on the contrary, since their aborted medical trip, the couple’s passport and other documents that will allow them to travel is reportedly withheld by agents of State Security Service, and is nowhere to be found. 
In an exclusive interview with Press TV on 29th September, the Sheikh pointed out that an attempt to procure new one proved abortive as the couple were told ‘passport flagging order’ was placed on them, meaning they cannot leave the country, for no reason said. 

It is public knowledge that Nigeria’s health care is criminally under equipped, debilitated, with inadequate manpower. Many doctors, after carefully reviewing the couple’s health condition, have advised that they best be treated outside the country where health care facilities are available. 

The deterioration in the couple’s health condition is so glaring as the Sheikh could be seen limping and his wife confined to a wheelchair as they exited the court premises some months ago.

This is as a result of lack of access to proper medical attention in the course of the years they have spent in illegal detention. 

The Sheikh and his wife have suffered enough already: six of their children were extrajudicially killed in the space of less than two years, over a thousand of his followers were killed and buried in mass graves, and hundreds others killed while peacefully protesting against his illegal detention; therefore not allowing them to travel at the moment is tantamount to rubbing salt in their wounds. 

Injustice to one is injustice to all, and for peace to reign clergymen, well meaning individuals and all people of conscience should please urge the government to allow the ailing Sheikh (H) and his wife attend to their health, especially as the Sheikh has, in the face of undue provocations, demonstrated an immeasurably disagreeable height of self-restraint and peacefulness. 

The Sheikh and his wife are now freed, they have not committed any crime as ruled by the Kaduna state high court, therefore, the right to be allowed to attend to their health outside the country is inalienable as enshrined in the constitution, it is a flagrant violation of their fundamental rights as citizens of the country. 
If anything, the government should, for the good of the nation, try to maintain the fresh breathe of air in the streets of Abuja and other cities considering the existential security crisis ravaging the country; it’s therefore unwise of the government to create yet another. One thing is certain: if Sheikh Zakzaky (H) is not allowed to attend to his health, those streets will soon be littered with the Sheikh’s  unrelenting, indefatigable followers. 

Najeeb Maigatari,Dutse, Jigawa state[email protected]

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