Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Good day.
Today, Monday 05/08/19 we obtained a favourable judgement in the ruling on application specifically seeking for the court’s permission to allow Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim to seek urgent medical treatment outside this country.
This ruling is not only a vindication that leaving all doors open to obtain favourable outcomes works, but it is a victory for our dogged determination, patience and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.
It will be recalled that the applicants are known to be clearly very ill in detention, consequent on the brutal wounds unjustifiably inflicted on them by the state agents in the name of Nigerian army, the resultant prolonged dehumanizing detention in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the obvious poisoning of the Sheikh. As a result of all these physical and psychological stresses, the Sheikh suffered series of mild strokes and is at the risk of further recurrences.
Meanwhile, he lost one eye following the military attack and is at a severe risk of losing sight completely in the other. He is now found to have more than twenty times the toxic levels of lead poison in his body! Similarly, the wife has been under excruciating pains with shrapnel deeply lodged in her body for all these years of inhuman conditions in detention. She now is able to ambulate only with the use of a wheelchair. Both were not even able to make it to the court in the last two sittings. They have been battling ailments that could not be treated in Nigeria, as posited by the foreign medical experts that earlier in the year assessed their health condition. Undoubtedly, both risk losing their lives had this favourable ruling been denied or further delayed.
We are all aware of the blurred human rights records of the Nigerian government which hardly respects court orders in contravention of the constitutional provisions. Previously, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were still kept in detention incommunicado in spite of previous court judgement ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting their fundamental rights and further jeopardizing their deteriorating health. With this recent ruling by the court today, we will finalize urgent plans to transfer them to a more appropriate foreign health facility for further expert management as we await the response of the Nigerian government. We expect them to act urgently to respect the Nigerian constitution and the ruling of this honourable court to grant the duo instant permit to travel for their treatment.
As a peaceful Movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of keeping faith with due process in seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government.
We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, particularly some very senior citizens, diplomats, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and the general public who doggedly stood by us in the campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.
Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola
Chairman, Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee