Zakzaky, wife should be allowed to attend to their health

It has been a month since the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and his wife were acquitted and discharged by Kaduna State High Court, after spending almost six years in illegal detention.

The couple who were arrested since December 2015 have been languishing in DSS custody, before later being transferred to Kaduna Correctional facility, with improperly managed life threatening gunshot injuries and numerous health complications that require serious intervention; as a result of which their health condition woefully deteriorated from bad to worse as days went by.

In July 2019 the couple had to be granted bail to urgently travel to India in order to attend to their failing health, 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, wherever they choose to go, without undue frustration 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, and have therefore no access to adequate medical care till date.

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 last month. This is a consequence 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 pace of less than two years, over a thousand of his followers were killed and buried in mass graves, and hundreds of 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.

If anything, the government should, for the good of the nation, maintain the fresh breathe of air in the streets of Abuja and other cities considering the security crisis ravaging the country; it’s therefore unwise of the government to add 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 his unrelenting, indefatigable followers.

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 demonstrated an inconceivable height of perseverance and restraint.

Not allowing them to attend to their health is a flagrant violation of their fundamental right as humans and as citizens of the country. The right to attend to health is inalienable (right) that should never be infringed upon.

Najeeb Maigatari,
Dutse, Jigawa state [email protected]