Today the Kaduna state High court has granted the plea by the legal team of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, led by Barrister Femi Falana SAN that both Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife be allowed to seek medical care from experts of their choice within or outside as the state has been incapable of providing them with the care their ailing health condition demands.
The court had earlier in November 2018 denied bail to the Defendants despite their visible ill health. However, at the hearing today, the Counsel for the Defendants Mr Femi Falana SAN, after highlighting the bad health conditions of the Defendants made a fresh application for the court to make an order for them to be flown abroad for medical treatment.
In response, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr Bayero Dari, who led the counsel for the State objected to the application and informed the court that they had earlier flown the Defendants abroad for treatment.
A Little drama ensued when the State Counsel was challenged by Sheikh Zakzaky to furnish the court with facts as to where and when he was flown to for treatment since they were severally shot by the Nigerian Army.
The Sheikh adviced the Counsel to fear Allah and respect himself and to refrain from telling lies to the face of a Court of Law. Mr Dari had wanted to misinform the court that the state was taking good care of the duo and that they were even flown abroad for treatment.
Addressing newsmen after the court case, the lawyer representing Sheikh Zakzaky, Femi Falana SAN explained that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were shot by the Army in December 2015 and since then they have not been given the adequate medical attention they require and hence the need for them to get the required and sufficient treatment to face the trial.
“The fact that since both of them were shot by the army in December 2015 they have not been given adequate medical attention, therefore they have to allow them remain alive so that they could stand for the trial” he stated.
He further explained that they have applied to the court directly to give them urgent medical attention or on the alternative to have them flown abroad for medical treatment.
The senior advocate also stated that it is apparent that the government doesn’t have enough medical facility to take care of them having not done so for the past two years now.
“Malam has lost an eye as he was shot in the eye and the second eye has developed glaucoma. In the case of his wife the bullets in her have not been totally extracted after two years. She is suffering excruciating pains currently” he explained.
Falana then mentioned that there is no way both of them can stand trials in the condition in which they are.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria further responded that in alternative to his application, the court shall give order for the Defendants to provide their own doctors from Nigeria or abroad to treat them. The learned Counsel cited authorities where accused persons were given access to medical treatment abroad.
Falana further explained that the government lawyer undertook that adequate medical attention would be provided adding “we made it clear that government is not in a position to provide adequate medical care and we applied that the personal physicians of both of them be allowed to also examine them and provide them with medical treatment”
Responding to question on where they are going to be treated, Falana stated that the government doctors and their personal physicians will agree on where they are going to be treated.
In a swift ruling, Justice Gideon Kurada made an order that the Defendants are allowed to bring in their own doctors to treat them, whether from Nigeria or abroad.
Justice Kurada said that government and security operatives shall not prevent doctors from having access to the defendants, and that they shall work hand in hand with govt doctors.
In another development, the charges brought against two others standing trial with the Sheikh and his wife were separated and dropped to allow the trial to proceed. This followed the prosecution’s unwillingness to reach out to them, apparently in order to further delay trial for as long as possible.
However, Justice Kurada has instructed that the charges be modified to reflect that only the Sheikh and the wife are before him on trial.
Addressing journalists after today’s sitting, the lawyer representing the state government, Bayero Dari said that the court has instructed them to adjust their charges and charge Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife alone.
“The court wants us to simply go and separate the charges and charge Malam alone and his wife and continue hearing” he stated.
This is because the third and the fourth accused persons have not been reached by the government’s counsel.
Dari further declared that they were ready to continue with the case today and have even come with some of their witnesses but they have to go and adjust their charges to reflect only Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenatuddeen Ibrahim.
The case was adjourned to 25 March for further hearing.