#El-zakzaky, Wife’s Health: Group Urges US, UK To Facilitate Release Of Couple’s Int’l Passports Seized By FG

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The Coalition for Human Rights Development (CfHD) has appealed to the Embassies of America, British and Canadian to help and facilitate the release of the international passports of the Shiites leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, to enable them travel abroad for medical attention.

In a statement by the CfHD Director, Dr Umar Abubakar, the group said government has not returned the international passport to the Shittes Leader since his medical trip to India which was allegedly scuttled by the government in 2018.

Abubakar said both the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security (DSS) had denied being in possession of the couple’s travelling documents since their release following the ruling of a Kaduna High Court.

It would be recalled that the duo were detained for over five years and were being prosecuted for alleged culpable homicide among other charges following a clash between IMN members and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State, in December 2015.

The Kaduna State High Court, under trial Justice Gideon Kuradah, had in a ruling on July 28, 2021, said the Kaduna government failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants, and accordingly discharged and acquitted them.

However, after their release, the state government filed fresh charges against them at the Federal High Court, bordering on alleged terrorism and treasonable felony.

CfHD lamented that “three months after being discharged and acquitted by a Kaduna State High Court, El-Zakzaky, and his wife, were yet to travel abroad for medical treatment as their international passports are still being held by security agencies and a new one has not been issued to them.

“Both the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security (DSS) have denied being in possession of the international passports of the couple.”

The statement alleged that during the botched medical trip to India three years ago, “as granted by the Kaduna High Court, the international travel documents were promptly seized on arrival by these security agencies.

“We hope this is not another evil machination of those in the corridors of power in Nigeria to deny the couple access to medical treatment.”

Speaking further, Abubakar said for about six years, medical reports have indicated that the health condition of the Islamic leader and his wife has deteriorated and they needed to travel overseas for treatment.

“That was the basis for the Kaduna State High Court granting them medical leave which was later scuttled by the government in 2018.

“Coalition for Human Rights Development and other lovers of justice across the world are getting agitated once again because of these obnoxious developments including what appears to be placing the duo under house arrest by the Government.

“Hence, we call on the international community, especially the US, UK and Canadian Governments  to prevail on the government to release the passports of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife,” Abubakar requested.

Speaking further, he urged the federal government to release their passports to them or issue new ones to them, which would enable them travel to the hospital of their choice without any further delay.

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