The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has lately intensified the Free Zakzaky Campaigns with nationwide street actions, night street actions, press conferences, legal and diplomatic contacts as the frightening news of the deteriorating health situation of their leader reach dire and alarming proportions.
In the major towns of Kaduna, Kano and Kaduna, free Zakzaky processions have been conducted three times a day or more. Night processions are becoming increasingly carried out in many towns and villages across the country. Daily street protest have been carried out in Abuja for more than a year now since the news of the Sheikh having suffered a stroke in detention.
The unrelenting members of the Islamic Movement have also been making frantic efforts on the diplomatic front, with high level diplomatic activities aimed at securing a pass for the ailing Sheikh and his wife to attend to their failing health.
More efforts have equally been directed on the courts, with fresh new applications of urgency sought to enable the court examine the dire need of urgent medical attention for the duo.
Earlier today, the only surviving son of the couple had addressed a press conference, emotionally stating that the assassination of his parents, especially his father, is nearly getting completed and that those behind it are bent on completing it, in reference to the Buhari-led government.
This has spurred members and sympathizers alike to intensify their campaigns on all fronts.
Thus far, Buhari appears to be the stumbling block, while at the same time pretending not to be involved at all.
Last April, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia had indicated that the clampdown on the Islamic Movement and Sheikh Zakzaky was at their instance, which corroborated what the President had said while on a state visit to Qatar in 2016, that the brutal clampdown on Sheikh Zakzaky and his Islamic Movement was to curtail the spread of Iranian influence.
Since the clampdown, there have been increased friendly activities between the Nigerian and Saudi rulers and religious scholars, which culminated in the honouring of those who played key roles in the clampdown, including the then Minister of Defense, Dan Ali.
An Abuja Federal High court had declared the detention of the Sheikh and his wife as illegal and against their fundamental rights, ordering their immediate release and payment of compensation to them. However, the Buhari government has contemptuously defied that judgement and continued to keep them in custody.
In mid-May last year, both were charged to a Kaduna High Court accused of aiding and abetting culpable homicide, an offence the same High Court had freed all those who stood trial for the offence the Sheikh is accused of aiding and abetting. Observers believe that the charges were filed as a ploy to keep them perpetually in detention, especially seeing that there has not been a strong will by the government to diligently prosecute the case.
In January this year, the court agreed to a request by the defense lawyers to allow medical experts to access their reported deteriorating health. The foreign medical specialists carried out the assessment in mid-April and reported that the Sheikh was far more ill than thought and recommended urgent further care abroad. The report also found out that there was toxic levels of Lead and Cadmium in the Sheikh, an indication that he might have been poisoned while in detention.
The Buhari government has thus far kept a deaf ear to the numerous calls for the duos’ release to seek for treatment, and they are threading on a very dangerous path indeed.
The Islamic Movement has rightly said it will hold the Buhari government directly responsible should anything untoward happen to either the Sheikh or his wife.