SET SHEIKH ZAKZAKY FREE!

It is well over 9 months since the unjustified incarceration of the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria by the present administration to the consternation of peace loving citizens of our great country Nigeria. It all started when a contingent of the Nigerian Army on the orders of General Y.T. Buratai descended upon unarmed citizens in Zaria using all the armory at its disposal, killing 1000+ and maiming several hundreds in a two day carnage spree in December, 2015.

Though we need not go into details of the atrocities committed by the Nigerian army in Zaria, since it has been well documented by various local and international human rights bodies, but it is worth noting that at the end of it all no any soldier, from the high ranking officers who are known to be involved in these brazen acts of human rights violation to the foot soldiers that fired the shots, are in detention waiting to hear the outcome of their fate. However on the contrary, Sheikh Zakzaky who has been shot several times, his wife and hundreds of his followers are still languishing in jail.

A cursory look at the detention of our leader, Sheikh IbraheemYaqoubZakzaky will reveal that it is both legally and morally wrong. From the legal point of view, since for the past nine months Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have not been told that they breached any law of our country, they should be set free. Moreover they have not been charged before any competent court of any criminal offence; hence why still keep them in detention?

Also according to our law statutes no citizen should be detained for more than 48 hours without any charge brought against him, but in the case of our Leader for the more than nine months he is being detained, the authorities have not seen it necessary to either charge him or free him. What a travesty of justice in our democratic dispensation!

Additionally if the detention of Sheikh Zakzaky is viewed using the moral prism, it will be seen as the height of suppression, oppression and transgression against a single individual and millions of his followers here in the country and the world at large. How can the arrest and detention of somebody who was attacked in his house by rampaging troops be justified when he himself sustained several gunshot wounds, blinded in one eye, his wife wounded by several gun shots, his three male children killed before his eyes, his senior sister burnt alive and his house burnt and razed to the ground? Where in the world can this brutality be inflicted on a person, a family and a community if not in our Nigeria?

After several calls on various occasions by well meaning individuals and groups, both locally and internationally, upon the government of President Buhari to release our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, it has turned deaf ears to them. Our leader escaped death due to the benevolence of Allah the creator, even though the authorities had wanted him dead during the savage attack, but then why won’t they allow him go and look for a better medical service, following reports that his health is fast deteriorating? Even the doctor assigned to him has confessed that he can’t rescue the right eye of Sheikh Zakzaky due to lack of enough medical facilities, why then won’t the government release him even on medical grounds?

The continued detention of our leader is unconstitutional and illegal and against all known human rights norms. We are law abiding citizens and will follow all peaceful means to seek redress.

As we come out today on a peaceful march, we unequivocally call on the Buhari administration to let our SHEIKH GO! HE IS IN DIRE NEED OF MEDICAL ATTENTION!! The government should also release his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim, the almost 200 members of IMN detained in Kaduna prison and the others still missing, widely believe to be in detention with military authorities.

SIGNED BY
SHEIKH ABDULHAMID BELLO
22-09-16