A group of medical experts and consultants which conducted health assessments on Nigeria’s top Muslim cleric Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have recommended the couple to be flown abroad without further delay for treatments.
The medical delegation led by UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which visited the El-Zakzakys at a Department of State Services, DSS, facility in Abuja comprised of an eye surgeon, a clinical cardiologist, an orthopaedic consultant and an emergency specialist.
Speaking in an interview, the leader of the delegation, Dr. Kazim Akber Dhalla, an eye surgeon, said: “From the preliminary assessments that we’ve done both the Sheikh (El-Zakzaky) and his wife are suffering multiple health problems. Some of them have already been discovered.
“However, our impression is that they will require further urgent assessments and more treatments, for certainty. Perhaps this will be done somewhere else, in higher centres, maybe outside the Nigeria.”
Sheikh Ibrahim Al-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. His wife Mallimah Zeenah also sustained gunshot wounds in the attack.
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.
The medical team said that despite his injuries Sheikh Zakzaky’s morale remains high and he is confident that Allah’s justice will prevail.
IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh who led the medical delegation said: “This visit is testimony to the persistence of the sheikh’s many supporters around the world. And despite the fact that it happened only as a result of a court order it nevertheless presents an opportunity for the Nigerian government to make this a win for all those concerned. At the same time as letting the couple fly abroad they can also do the right thing in executing the federal court order from 2016 and release both of them from illegal detention.”