By Najeeb Maigatari.

The Deafening Silence on Sheikh Zakzaky

November 9, 2019

Nigeria, Jigawa State- Since the aborted medical trip of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah a couple of months ago, nothing is heard of the duo to this vey date. There is since then no word from the government- or any other relevant authority, the DSS for example- regarding the ailing couple’s whereabout and health condition.

This is very alarming and especially knowing fully what is at stake, that the duo’s health condition has already deteriorate even before they were granted permission, by the Kaduna High Court, to travel to India for urgent medical attention. How is the Sheikh by now considering the fact that he returned to Nigeria untreated? Is a question the public should by now be concerned about.

The events that surrounded the trip were quite unfortunate and, in truth, avoidable. The presiding judge was clear crystal that the government’s role throughout the trip is just to supervise, contrary to what unfolded at the moment in which agents of the Nigerian security forces were seen deliberately frustrating the trip from the outset till a point at which the Sheikh was compelled to abort the trip without receiving the desired medical treatment he and his wife have so much longed for with all their lives.

The criminal justice system works in such a way that an accused is considered not guilty until proven otherwise. Here I will remind the public that Sheikh Zakzaky is still not found guilty of not a single crime by any court of law,even as he stands trial. So is his wife Zeenah! But, as lamented by the Sheikh through a video message prior to his return from India, the Nigerian security operatives told their Indian counterpart that he is a convicted criminal in disguise looking for political asylum. This is, in all honesty, is unfair to the Sheikh and his wife. How could someone become convicted when his trial has not yet begin? All this while, the court sitting in Kaduna High court only listened to the request of the Sheikh’s lawyers to allow him attend to his health.

What is more surprising is the fact that the government through the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and culture, Dcns. Grace Isu Gekpe, narrated to the public the ‘ true story of El-Zakzaky in India’ which although so many of the revelations contained therein do not add up, but still to be impartial; one could assume that it was done at the service of the public- or its interest- until when the ailing Sheikh and his wife finally returned and the same government is suddenly off the stage to tell the public about such stories as ‘the true story of El-Zakzaky’s return’ and most importantly ‘the true story of El-Zakzaky’s whereabout or health condition’.

For the record, Sheikh Zakzaky refused to consent to treatment from doctors entirely different from those who already had carry out investigations and diagnose his conditions, even before the trip, and on whose sole advice he seeks to be treated in India. This, according to the PS MOIAC, is an ulterior motive. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) code of medical ethics, which is being practiced the world over, a patient has the right to make an informed and voluntary decision about declining or accepting medical care. Now, the Sheikh may have had an ulterior motive (if not consenting to treatment is one) but the government definitely has an ulterior motive in its narration of ‘Sheikh Zakzaky’s story in India’ which is to victimize the ailing Sheikh and prevent the public from sympathizing with his ordeals.

It is pertinent to remind the public of the fact that Sheikh Zakzaky is still suffering from the many health complications he has earlier been diagnosed with, so is his wife Zeenah; many of which are life-threatening. The truth is that the duo still requires immediate medical attention. Worse still, the Sheikh could even loose his life anytime soon if events continue going at the current pace. Nevertheless, it is certainly not in the public’s interest to have them suffer this silently and secretly.

Over the weekend, Sheikh Zakzaky’s family have expressed concern about the DSS covering up the exact health condition of the venerable Sheikh and his wife since their unfortunate return on August. Hitherto, they were denied access to the Sheikh, whose health condition and that of his wife has reportedly deteriorated from bad to worse over the past few days.

Notwithstanding the deteriorating health condition of the Sheikh and his wife, the DSS also deny the duo access to their personal physicians here at home and even their lawyers. This, as we are all aware, is not just a violation of their fundamental right as citizens of the state but also serve as a litmus to understanding how unfairly the DSS have been treating the Sheikh and his wife since their illegal, unconstitutional detention.

Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have been in illegal detention since December 2015 following Nigerian military’s raid on his residence in Zaria, where 3 of his biological children were gunned down before his eyes in cold blood and over a thousand of his followers killed. The duo were shot fatally and whisked to DSS detention facility where they were denied access to proper medical attention as a result of which their health conditions keep deteriorating with each passing day. It could also be recalled that a Federal High court sitting in Abuja has, on December 2016, ordered the release of the Sheikh and his wife which the Nigerian government contemptuously fail to comply to this date.

The general public should stand witness to the fact that the followers of the Sheikh have even temporarily suspended their daily street protests as a sign of good faith for peace, following calls from various peace loving, respectful individuals. On this regard, the government should be thoughtful enough to live up to expectations failure of which, we all know that, the street protests may return anytime soon with an, even more, stronger momentum than ever before; and this could only pave way for yet another series of bloodbaths which is not in the interest of every well meaning individual and could in no way be of any significance to the society.

This said therefore, The DSS should do the needful by allowing Sheikh Zakzaky’s family to, at the very least, have access to their beloved, know of their health condition as well as provide moral support as is required of every patient; before another- avoidable- bloody protests rock the streets of Abuja and other cities across the country again. Sheikh Zakzaky’s right to treatment, even as he stands trial, should be respected. But even more, the Sheikh alongside his wife should be allowed to attend to their health.


 

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