Why is Sheikh Zakzaky denied even the right of visitation?
The condition and whereabouts of the Islamic Movement’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky as well as that of his wife, are still unknown, three weeks after their arrest and detention by the Nigerian military. However it is on record that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General T.Y. Buratai had said on December 18th, 2015 that Sheikh El-Zakzaky had been transferred from the army to appropriate authorities for prosecution.
We presumed he meant the Nigerian police. However to our bewilderment, when a committee of National Supreme Council for Islamic affairs (NSCIA) met the Inspector General of police and demanded to see the Sheikh, he flatly refused.
Not long ago, the force public relations officer Olabisi Kolawole, had said that Sheikh Zakzaky was being prosecuted. “The Shi’ite leader has been arraigned in court where he was charged with criminal conspiracy, inciting public disturbances among others; he has been remanded in prison custody and the case adjourned.” She told the Punch. Surprisingly while the Nigerian authorities had announced that he was detained and arraigned in Kaduna prisons, the Controller of Kaduna Prisons, Abubakar Argungu, denied he was in their custody. So whom should we believe? This smacks of deceit, conspiracy and out right manipulation of the public’s view of the army’s massacre in Zaria.
The Islamic Movement as well as the general public are now seriously anxious. Where is Sheikh Zakzaky and why has he been denied his constitutional rights to an attorney, bail and visitation? If the government is truly interested in finding a peaceful way out of this crisis the army initiated and executed, as the government want the public to believe, it should by now have allowed unimpeded access to Sheikh Zakzaky. First and foremost, his first family members and leading brothers of the Islamic Movement should have met him in the company of his Doctor by now, since he was shot by the soldiers when they attacked his residence.
We are highly agitated by this seeming needless incommunicado the Sheikh has been placed in. The federal government should tell the public where Sheikh Zakzaky is, because rumors of various degrees are flying about his health. We believe it is only when the Sheikh’s health condition is made public by the relevant authorities that the tension brewing among the populace will be doused.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT