IMN threatens to resume Abuja street protests over failure of FG to release El-Zakzaky, wife’s travel documents

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Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have threatened to resume street protests in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, over alleged refusal of the Federal Government to release international passports of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah.

The threat is contained in a statement made available on Tuesday by Mukhtar Abdurrahman Auwal on behalf of the Academic Forum of the Islamic movement in Abuja.

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Auwal stated that the refusal to release their passports for them to travel abroad for their medical treatment is a breach on their fundamental human rights.

It reads: “We would like to inform the public of the new threat being plotted by the Buhari-led regime to the life of our leader, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Ya’qoub El-Zakzaky [H]. Well-known, the Sheikh and his wife Malama Zeenah are suffering from numerous health challenges that can not be treated in Nigeria, and Buhari refuses to release or issue new international passports to the couple.   

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“The public are fully aware of the Zaria massacre executed from 12th to 14th December, 2015. It was an “all-out-war” to eliminate the Sheikh and dislodge the Islamic movement under his distinguished tutelage, “once and for all”. The Nigerian Army, under Buhari’s direct command, invaded the Husainiyyah along Sokoto road, the Dambo-film-village-farmyard-cum-martyrs’ graveyard and Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s Gyallesu residence, all in Zaria. They killed 1000+ followers of his, and set the house ablaze.

“Against all odds, the prime target, his wife and several other family members survived the arson and all that attack. Yet, no sooner had four soldiers “discovered” the whereabouts of the survivors in a laundry room than they started to rain bullets on them, instantly killing three of his sons, leaving the Sheikh and his wife “waiting to die” from the lethal gunshot wounds. But the duo are still alive with multiple health complications, very much in need of urgent medical attention.  

“In the aftermath of the Zaria-massacre, it was obvious that the Army connived with Mr. Nasiru El-Rufa’i to dump all those who were extra-judicially killed, and many in their last gasps, in various mass graves. The popular one being at Mando on the outskirts of Kaduna. They used bulldozers to level the remains of the Gyallesu burnt residence and equally demolished structures associated with the Sheikh, including his mother’s house where she is buried at Jushi Zaria. What a huge crime against humanity!

“Ever since the massacre, the Sheikh and his wife have been battling with life-threatening health complications. The couple sought their fundamental rights at the High Court of Justice, and the court unconditionally discharged and acquitted them with compensation in their favour in December, 2016. Again, Buhari did not only make contempt of the court ruling by refusing to release them but also instituted an illegal case, using El-Rufa’i as a proxy. The prosecution filed fabricated charges that involved culpable homicide punishable by death, as they aimed to accomplish by court what they could not through the barrel of a gun.

“While in detention awaiting trial, there was also the issue for urgent medical treatment abroad. After incessant calls, protests and counsel arguments, the authorities reluctantly acquiesced to the medical trip to India for the prosecution to continue after the couple’s return to Nigeria. Unfortunately, the Nigerian authorities hijacked the whole process by trying to use doctors in India. Realizing that their sinister plan was botched, the regime quickly boarded the couple back, and then put the oppressed patients behind bars immediately thereafter.

“Justice was delayed and prolonged for more than 5 years but at last the court discharged and acquitted the Sheikh and his wife in July, 2021. Following the court triumph, their immediate preoccupation has been to cater for their medical needs abroad but their international passports have been denied for almost 9 months running now. Once more, they have to resort to the court but still the authorities continue to trample on the court procedures, causing unnecessary delay.

“Buhari woefully failed by using the barrel of a gun, and equally through trumped-up charges in the court. However, the Buhari-led regime perseveres in its attempt at pushing the contract to kill Sheikh El-Zakzaky (H) to a success. Thus, the powers that are keep on victimizing the Sheikh along with his wife, as their international passports are gratuitously denied so as to deprive them of travelling overseas for proper medication. 

“It is pertinent the public note that the freedom of Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife is still being denied. Isn’t it such a flagrant abuse of their fundamental rights to life? General Buhari would definitely be held responsible for anything that befall the couple; and certainly, we can not afford to sit at home while the rights of our leader are being abused. After patiently waiting for 9 months, we have no option than to return to the streets of Abuja, to protest this unholy conspiracy. 

“In view of the foregoing, we demand for unconditional release of the couple’s international passports.”

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