Hundreds of thousands of members and sympathizers of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria today took to the streets of major Northern Nigerian towns and cities to protest the continued illegal detention of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, whom foreign medical experts recently said he still suffers significant health challenges and should be sent for further treatment abroad.
The peaceful protest was conducted in virtually every northern state capital, including but not limited to Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Jalingo.
In a paper signed by Sheikh Abdulhameed Bello and distributed to the public during the protest, he reiterated the determination of members of the Movement to keep the tempo of their peaceful protest alive. He explained that their coming out today was to demand for the unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky and the numerous members of the Islamic Movement still languishing in detention centres across the country.
Sheikh Abdulhameed stressed that the Islamic Movement will not condone any attempt to jeopardize the health of the Sheikh in the name of illegal detention. He said, “for certainly this government will be held responsible for whatever happens to Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife.”
The mass protests ended peacefully everywhere it was carried out without any incident.
Below is the full text of the Public Release:
DON’T JEOPARDISE THE HEALTH OF OUR LEADER!
In the aftermath of Zaria genocide executed on the orders of a foreign power by the Nigerian Army, about four years ago, we have been agitating for the release of our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky and his wife so that they could attend to their deteriorating health condition properly. But instead of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to accede to our demands, it stubbornly refused. However, last week on the orders of a Kaduna high court it allowed a team of foreign medical doctors to examine the couple in Kaduna.
The team of foreign medical experts that assessed the medical needs of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife has concluded that the ailing Sheikh would require further proper medical attention at well-equipped centres abroad. On the conclusion of their preliminary assessment of the health situation of the Sheikh and his wife, they opined that both may need to be flown abroad for proper medical attention because both still suffer significant multiple health problems.
Why the gross injustice meted by Buhari’s administration on this pious servant of Allah and his followers is beyond comprehension. It killed his three youthful sons, burnt his senior sister alive, demolished his house and other landed properties, including where the remains of his beloved mother was buried, killed 1000+ of his followers, buried 347 of them in a mass grave at Mando cemetery, Kaduna, still incarcerating hundreds in various known and unknown jails and detention centres. What compares this brutal oppression?Upon all these acts of atrocities, Abuja high court gave a monumental judgement in favor of restoring the fundamental human rights of our Leader and his wife, but this government shamelessly flouted the court’s orders contemptuously. What does Buhari’s government want from these series of human right abuses against the Sheikh and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria? Evidently, it seems the government is hoping against hope that Sheikh Zakzaky dies in custody, but Allah in his infinite mercy has refused to let him die. May such a catastrophe never happen by the grace of Allah.
To say we are angry with the way the administration of Buhari is handling this case is an understatement. We have stage countless protest against his continued illegal detention, but all to no avail, the government is adopting a belligerent attitude to our demands. This is not entirely surprising judging from the fact that there is hardly any national problem that this government has addressed and provided its solution. Is it the issue of rampant kidnappings going on as if there is no government in the land, or is it the near total darkness engulfing Nigerian cities and villages that this government has provided solution to, or the daily increase in the prices of everyday commodities? This and many others are clear pointers to the type of government saddled with the affairs of this nation – a government that is not responsive to the needs of its citizens.
We therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians to open their eyes and sharpen their ears and listen to our cries that we have been obviously unfairly treated by this administration; hence we will not stop protesting till we are heard by the relevant authorities. People should not feel unconcerned by our plight simply because it has not reached their doorsteps, for certainly with the way this government is handling the affairs of this nation, we believe very soon the numerous problems bedeviling this country will affect every citizen. Why not, when those at the helm of affairs, are clueless and inept?We hereby reiterate our determination to keep the tempo of our peaceful protest alive, just as we come out today, demanding for the unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and the numerous members of the Islamic Movement still languishing in detention centres across the country. We will not condone any attempt to jeopardize the health of our leader in the name of illegal detention; for certainly this government will be held responsible for whatever happens to Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife.
SHEIKH ABUDULHAMID BELLO ZARIA
Pictures taken from across the States: