Group appeals to FG to release El-Zakzaky, wife’s travel documents

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The Center for Excellence Leadership and Development has appealed to the Federal Government to release travel documents of Shiekh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, to facilitate their traveling out for medical attention.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, its spokesman, Dr Abubakar Manzo, said that the health of El-Zakzaky and his wife is deteriorating and need urgent attention for treatment.

Recall that the seizure of the passports of El-Zakzaky ; the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, has been denied by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Through their legal team, led by Femi Falana SAN, the couple said that the agency held their passports when security operatives, including NIA’s, escorted them on a medical trip to India, as ordered by a court, in 2019.

Manzo explained that in a letter dated August 2, 2021, sent to NIA, Abubakar Marshal, a member of the defence team, asked the agency to return the couple’s passports and other travelling documents now that their trial at the Kaduna State High Court was over.

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He added that the agency denied holding the passports and asked the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, to release the passports of Sheikh Zakzaky and Zeenat to enable them to travel to the hospital of their choice.

According to the group, “As you are aware, It has been over two months 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.”

In his ruling, delivered on July 30, 2021, Judge Gideon Kurada upheld the couple’s no-case submission and dismissed all eight charges, including, disruption of public peace and unlawful assembly and culpable homicide levelled against them by the Kaduna State Government.

The statement explained, “The couple who were arrested since December 2015 has been in the custody of the DSS, before being transferred to Kaduna Correctional Centre facility, with erroneously handled life-threatening gunshot injuries and multiple health complications that need serious intervention; hence the deterioration of their health conditions as days went by. The couple had to be urgently granted bail in July 2019 to travel to India in order to attend to their failing health, an effort which was, unfortunately, purposely frustrated by security agents, resulting in the couple prematurely aborting the trip without receiving medical attention.

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“Now that the couple is acquitted of all charges filed against them by the Kaduna State Government, they should be permitted to attend to their health, wherever they decide to go, without unneeded frustration whatsoever.”

It noted that since their aborted medical trip, the couple’s passports and other documents needed to travel is being withheld, therefore limiting their access to proper medical care to date.

It added that the deteriorating health of the couple is so obvious as the Sheikh was seen limping and his wife confined to a wheelchair as they left the court premises last month.

The group observed that their condition is due to the lack of proper medical attention in the course of the years they have spent in illegal detention.

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The group further explained that the sheikh and his wife have suffered enough already with six of their children extrajudicially killed in the space of fewer 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, adding that not allowing them to travel at the moment is tantamount to rubbing salt in their wounds.

The group called the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency release the passports of the couple so that they can attend to their health.