BY AMOS TAUNA, KADUNA – The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), on Friday condemned in strong terms the transfer of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), to Kaduna central prison.
The IMN noted that the order by a Kaduna State High Court to transfer El-Zakzaky and his wife to a prison facility instead of a hospital is a punishment.
These were contained in a statement by the IMN President, Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, in which the group also said that the move is a plot by Governor Nasir El-Rufa-led government to ridicule El-Zakzaky’s team.
The IMN statement states; “These mischievous moves by the Elrufai government were equally meant to ridicule the formidable legal team of the Sheikh, who had consistently defeated their team in all cases thus far, including securing a landmark favourable judgement ordering the immediate release of the ailing Sheikh and his wife, both of whom the government is still detaining in contempt of a competent court order.
“It will be recalled that the Kaduna state government had chosen a path of dishonour and shame in charging the Sheikh and his wife for aiding and abetting alleged offences they couldn’t prove in the same court against hundreds of his supporters.
“They refused to diligently pursue the case, but rather use one flimsy excuse or the other to delay making any progress in the case because of their knowledge that they don’t have a case against them.
“When the court granted them medical leave to go and seek urgent medical attention in India, the government had opposed, trying to rather put obstacles on their paths. Then they attempted to assassinate the Sheikh, with the active connivance of NIA, in India.
“That too was botched with the Sheikh opting to rather return to Nigeria. Since that return, the Sheikh and his wife have been largely held incommunicado. No contact with their legal representatives was given and only a minimal contact with doctors, and even that only after the Sheikh’s wife took seriously ill in detention,” Musa explained.
IMN said it took a very strong exception to the misinformation in court that they were being allowed unfettered access to their legal representatives.
“To rub salt to injury, the prosecuting counsels had requested the court to order the immediate transfer of these very ill persons to the ill-equipped Kaduna Convict Prison rather than to a well-equipped medical facility.
“The Kaduna prison is dilapidated and is without any medical facility. It was in that very prison that some survivors of the Zaria genocide of December 2015 died due to lack of medical attention.
“It can therefore never be a substitute for appropriately furnished medical facility that can take care of their urgent medical needs.
“We view any attempt to take Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to anywhere other than a hospital that is sufficiently equipped to handle their medical needs as punishing them further.
“Their absence in court again today is even worrisome, because they were equally absent during the last court session because of what their counsel, Femi Falana, said at that time, was due to their deteriorating health conditions.
“We reiterate our unequivocal demand for their immediate and unconditional release. We will never waiver or succumb, and will leave no stone unturned in our legitimate demand for his freedom,” IMN vowed.