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Shiites seek El-Zakzaky’s release as wife contracts COVID-19 in detention

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[FILE] Nigeria Shiite Muslims hold religious flags and banners in a procession celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and also demanding the release of Shiite leader Ibraheem Zakzaky, on posters, in Kano, Nigeria, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. The demonstration was in part provoked after a recent attack by Nigerian soldiers who fired on unarmed Islamic Shiite children with no provocation, killing some hundreds of the minority group in the West African nation, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. (AP Photo/Muhammed Giginyu)


Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, have asked the Federal Government to immediately release Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky from detention, after his Wife, Zeenah, who is also in detention, tested positive for the dreaded Coronavirus disease.

The Islamic group said that IMN was deeply worried that six days after contracting COVID-19 while in detention at Kaduna Correctional facility, Zeenah had not been taken to any specialised hospital to receive proper medical care.

IMN’s spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement, yesterday, said: “We all know that COVID-19 requires an immediate response to medical advice. More so, Malama Zeenah Ibrahim has been denied treatment for acute medical conditions including severe arthritis of the knee for five years now. She is still in Kaduna prison at the moment, yet to be hospitalised and yet to receive proper health care.”

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Musa noted that, “given her underlying medical conditions and age, her infection places her at heightened risk of severe illness and/or death.” 

He added: “Sheikh Zakzaky himself suffers from many underlying conditions which put him at high risk of developing life-threatening symptoms should he contract the virus.

“The couple are next due to appear in court on Monday, January 25, to face the bogus charges brought against them by the government of El-Rufai. The length of time they have spent in custody since being arrested in 2015 reinforces the view that the Buhari regime is conducting a witch-hunt against the couple and abusing the judicial system in the hope that they will die quietly in custody.

“We believe Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife should not be in custody in the first place. A competent court in Abuja freed both of them on December 2, 2016, but the Federal Government contemptuously refused to obey the judgment of the court.

“We call upon well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to prevail on the federal and Kaduna State governments to ensure maximum health care for this patient that is in her 60s and still grieving the extra-judicial killing of her six children. We pray to Almighty Allah to grant her good health, protect her husband and other inmates as well as the prison officials from this deadly virus.”

Musa said the “Buhari regime at the centre and the El-Rufai-led Kaduna state government should be held responsible for anything bad that happens to our leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife.”

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