*Photo: Members of Concerned Abuja Indigenes at the press briefing *
A group, under the auspices of Concerned Abuja Indigenes, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to release the international passports of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah.
The Coordinator of the group, Ayedo Danjuma Abdul, made the call during a press briefing in Abuja.
“On behalf of the Concerned Abuja Indigenes, I wish to express our concern over the ill-treatment of the leader of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, by the Nigerian government.
“It was gathered through reliable sources as well as during our visit to him in his Abuja residence on the 6th of March, 2022, that in the course of the attack on him in his Zaria residence on 12th December, 2015, the Nigerian Army burnt the house to piles of rubble and ashes, killed three of his children, and the Sheikh and his wife terribly wounded.
“They were shot severally, the shooting that a human cannot survive it. They battered his right side, and battered his left hand; it affected his face, and even the eye. There are fragments of bullets around his head and neck. Around the head, from the cheek up to the head, about 38 fragments have been counted. His wife has gunshot in her stomach and her thigh. The 4-year wheelchair-bound lady still has one complete bullet in her body, which found its place in her pelvis. Doctors said that they could not remove it here in Nigeria.
“While the governments of other nations try their best possible to protect the rights of their citizens, the Nigerian government infringes on the rights of its own citizens,” he said.
Abdul expressed worry hat the unjust treatment of El-Zakzaky and his wife by the government has not stopped even after their discharge and acquittal by the Kaduna State High court in July, 2021.
“Instead, more ways are being followed to oppressed them unjustifiably.
“Seven months on, yet the government is illegally denying them their International passports with which they could go abroad for their treatment.
“This is in total violation of their rights to freedom of movement and medication as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that grants all citizens the right to freedom of movement, including entry and exit,” he said.
The coordinator called on the government to release their travel documents so as to sustain the peace currently enjoying by the FCT residents after the IMN members suspended their routine protests.
“We urge the Federal Government to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s passport along with his wife’s to enable them travel to the hospital of their choice in order to avoid the return to the street protests by his supporters which turned Abuja from the city it used to be to seemingly a battle ground.
“As a result of the police brutality against the free El-Zakzaky protesters, many businesses were disrupted, and lives lost on numerous occasions, including two journalists, a police officer, many protesters and even some of our members,” he said.
Abdul warned that failure to release the couple’s travel documents might attract a protest by the Concerned Abuja Indigenes.