The Nigerian government is making moves to facilitate the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has said.
IHRC said, it has confirmed reports from the family of the IMN leader, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenah that moves are finally underway to release the pair by the federal government of Nigeria get urgent medical attention
A statement issued by their only surviving son, Mohammad, says that Nigerian authorities have opened negotiations with prominent officials to effect their release, but also expresses dismay that the wheels are turning much slower than necessary.
“I wish to use this opportunity to urge them to spare no effort to speed up the process as time has clearly run out in medical terms. Although even now their health has continued to deteriorate, I can at least say that there is a process currently taking place,” he said.
Nigeria’s apparent turnaround on the matter comes after massive protests this week inside the country and internationally including Indonesia, Canada, Pakistan and the UK, by supporters of Sheikh Zakzaky forcing authorities to enter negotiations to agree the terms of his release.
If they are released, the immediate priority for Sheikh Zakzaky will be to leave the country to receive treatment.
The pair’s release will mark an important and hard-won victory for supporters who have long sought their freedom and for the sheikh to receive the necessary medical treatment.
To date, Nigerian authorities have repeatedly refused requests for him to travel abroad in spite of the fact that 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.
Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky has already 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 lead toxicity is believed to be a direct result of the shrapnel from bullets left in his body.
IHRC also urged the Nigerian authorities to expedite the release process so that the couple can get the medical treatment they require at the earliest opportunity.
Meanwhile, IHRC urges campaigners everywhere to continue their efforts to exert pressure on the Nigerian authorities until such a time that the pair are free and out of Nigeria.