Skip to content Skip to footer

Toxicity levels “off the scale” in body of Sheikh Zakzaky

Islamic Human Rights Commission Press release:
Doctors examining the beleaguered leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria have renewed pleas for him to be released in order to access medical treatment after finding high levels of lead toxicity in his body.

The lead levels in Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky are described as so dangerously high as to render immediate treatment a medical emergency.

An IHRC-led medical team that flew to Nigeria in April in order to examine Sheikh Zakzaky has already issued two reports saying that the specialist treatment he requires can only be fully accessed outside Nigeria.

Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky lost sight in one eye and the use of one arm after receiving four gunshot injuries during the December 2015 massacre by the Nigerian military of over 1000 followers of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. The toxicity is a direct result of the shrapnel from bullets left in his body.

Specialists are compiling a new report on his health but the high level of toxicity they found has so alarmed them that they have issued this plea ahead of its completion.

Since their detention the couple’s supporters have sought to provide them with necessary medical help. However, Nigerian authorities have consistently prevented the pair from accessing their own medical treatment and have repeatedly refused requests for them to fly abroad. In January this year a judge presiding over the trial of Sheikh Zakzaky ordered that he should be allowed to receive medical treatment from doctors of his own choosing.

In May IHRC submitted a report to the United Nations higlighting systematic state abuse in the authorities’ treatment of the country’s Islamic Movement.

The report was written for the review by the UN’s Human Rights Committee of Nigeria’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report can be read at