BY NAJEEB MAIGATARI
Since the aborted medical trip of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenah a couple of months ago, nothing has been heard of the duo. No word from the government- or any other relevant authority, the DSS for example- regarding the ailing couple’s whereabouts and health condition.
The events that surrounded the trip were quite unfortunate and, in truth, avoidable. 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 Malama Zeenah!
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.
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 has been treating the Sheikh and his wife since their detention.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December 2015 following Nigerian military’s raid on his residence in Zaria, where three of his biological children were gunned down and over a thousand of his followers killed. 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 has failed to comply with till 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 to avoid a return to street protests with stronger momentum which is not in the interest of the country.
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 conditions as well as provide moral support as is required of every patient; before another avoidable round of protests rock the streets of Abuja and other cities across the country. 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.
Maigatari sent this piece from Jigawa. He can be reached via [email protected]