he followers of Shi’ites leader Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky have alleged that he is being poisoned in detention.
This came as a Kaduna State High Court adjourned hearing in El-Zakzaky’s application for permission for him and his wife, Zinat, to travel to India for medical attention.
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and his wife had applied to the court seeking to travel for medical attention in view of their failing health condition while in detention.
However, the Free Zakzaky Committee of the IMN in a statement it issued after the court sitting accused the court of failing to stand for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
They alleged that their leader was obviously being poisoned in detention, claiming that “Zakzaky has more than 20 times the toxic levels of lead poison in his body”.
The State Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Dari Bayero, who briefed reporters after the hearing, said the adjournment was sequel to an application by the team of counsel prosecuting the IMN leader.
He said the team requested for time to examine the medical reports that accompanied IMN leader’s application and authenticate its genuineness before putting up their argument before the court.
Justice Darius Khobo granted the request and adjourned till July 29.
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, in the application, said if granted the permission to travel, he and his wife would return to Nigeria as soon as they are discharged upon the satisfied medical report.
The IMN leader has been in detention since 2015 and he is standing trial for alleged 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 to serve on the panel of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe.
Before the indefinite adjournment, the court had on January 22, ordered the Kaduna State Government to avail the IMN leader and his wife access to medical attention.
Femi Falana (SAN), the lead counsel to the IMN leader, also told reporters after yesterday’s adjournment that his clients, El-Zakzaky and wife Zinat, were in dire need of medical attention.
Falana said 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.
The rights lawyer expressed optimism that at the resumed hearing of the application on July 29, the court would grant them permission to travel for urgent medical attention.
However, Free Zakzaky Committee in the 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 the Nigerian army, the resultant prolonged dehumanising 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 a series of mild strokes and is at the risk of further recurrences.
“Meanwhile, he lost one eye following the military attack and is at severe risk of losing sight completely in the other. He is now found to have more than 20 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 courtroom 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.”