The Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Tuesday urged pressure on the African country’s federal government to release their detained leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
The group staged a peaceful protest in Abuja and said that it had become expedient for the government to release the Islamic leader because of his failing health.
Leader of the protesters, Malam Abdullahi Musa, told Newsmen that the protest was the 91st the group was embarking on since Zakzaky was detained in 2015.
“Recent medical check-up carried out by concerned Nigerians and medical professionals show that the only remaining eye of Sheikh Zakzaky which was affected with glaucoma was deteriorating,” he said.
“An urgent surgery is needed abroad as no hospital in Nigeria can handle his situation successfully.
“It has also been confirmed that the Sheikh is still suffering from the impact of stroke he suffered from some weeks ago and bullet injuries, such that he is still ill and in urgent need of medical attention abroad.
“His wife, Zeenah, suffers from increasingly frequent stomach pains due to bullets and other harmful particles that are in her stomach. She also suffers from cartilage problem (osteoarthritis) which makes it difficult for her to walk and is in dire need of medical attention abroad,’’ he said.
Musa said that Zakzaky had been shot at close range, but Allah kept him alive from the barbaric attack of December, 2015.
He said that Allah was with the cleric, “who was attacked because of his stance against injustice, corruption, crime against humanity, disunity of the people and imperialism.
“We will not be satisfied until Sheikh Zakzaky is free from tyrannical detention, until all those that are involved in the killing of over 1, 000 innocent people in Zaria and other places are brought to book,” he went on to say, according to the Vanguard newspaper.
The top Shia cleric lost his left eyesight in a raid which was carried out by the Nigerian army on his residence in the northern town of Zaria in December 2015.
During the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too and more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons were killed. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.
Despite the ruling of a Federal High Court, which ordered his unconditional release in 2016, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.
The clergyman is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”