In the last couple of weeks, reliable information reaching us of a further deterioration of the health situation of the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and that of his wife, has filtered through and the government is using various tricks in denying them both the necessary urgent medical attention they both deserve.
Not even the court order granted by the Kaduna high court in January this year, allowing the Sheikh and his wife to be independently reviewed by medical specialist from anywhere in the world to ascertain their current state of health, the adequacy of care they allegedly receive presently in detention and determine their fitness to stand trial or the potential need to avail them the chance to seek adequate urgent medical care outside of their detention place was allowed.
The Sheikh’s wife was so ill some weeks ago that she had to be secretly rushed to the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna at night for a procedure.
Both the Sheikh and his wife were absent in court during the last court sitting, further raising concern for their health. For almost a year, the prosecutors had deliberately dragged the case and showed an unusual lack of willingness to proceed with the case and further sitting in the case has been put on hold indefinitely.
The defence lawyers believe that the indefinite suspension of court sitting in the case could be used as an opportunity to allow the Sheikh and his wife attend to their deteriorating health conditions, so that they could be alive and fit whenever the state is ready to resume with the case.
The leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Zakzaky has been a known hypertensive patient on treatment long before the military attacks at his residence. During the attacks, he was shot severally in different parts of his body that resulted in among other things, the loss of one of his eyes, which was completely blown out of the socket. The sight in the other eye has been gradually failing because of glaucoma, made worse by bleeding into the chambers as a result of the gun shots. Since that attack in December 2019, he has not received satisfactory medical attention he deserves.
As a result of his uncontrolled blood pressure and the very strong physical and emotional stress he has been made to undergo, and the lack of regular checks or medications, he suffered a stroke while in detention three years into his incarceration.
At the moment, he is unable to hold his neck except with the aid of a neck collar, which he wears even when lying down. His eye sight (in the remaining eye) is fast deteriorating without regular checks and medications meant to ease the ocular pressure. He in fact risks losing sight completely in the remaining eye except something is done very fast to salvage the situation.
His age, the stress, his deteriorating medical condition and the lack of adequate care has made him very frail indeed.
The wife has been having bilateral damage to her knees due to rheumatoid arthritis and was due to have knee replacement surgery before the attack in December, 2015.
She received several gun shots at very close range in several parts of her body. She has not received satisfactory medical attention too and now has shrapnel scattered all over her body, and at the moment walks with support only. She also often has severe excruciating pains and her general health situation is also very fast deteriorating.
This disturbing situation has not made the government concede to at least obey the court judgement of more than two years ago, which declared him innocent or the order to at least allow independent specialists to assess their situation.
The lackadaisical attitude of the government and their agents within and without is simply unacceptable. It was the heinous action of agents of the government that put them both in this dire condition in the first place. It is also the agents of the present administration that have continued to defy justice and reason by continuing to hold them in very stringent and inimical conditions.
Let it be clearly known therefore that, the Federal Government will be held directly responsible should anything happen to the Sheikh or his wife while in their custody. This government and their agents must be told some doses of the stark truth.