ALERT: Nigeria – Release Sheikh Zakzaky, Muallima – Demand African Union’s intervention

Sheikh Zakzaky

IHRC’s Free Zakzaky campaign asks campaigners to please send an email to the African Union and demand its intervention on denial of amnesty to Zakzakys amid Covid-19 crisis. A model email and contact details of the African Union are provided below. Please forward any responses you receive to IHRC at


Requested Action

Model email

Recipient Addresses


The current Covid-19 pandemic crisis is still ongoing. On April 9, Buhari pardoned 2500 prisoners from Nigeria’s prisons. The pardon includes prisoners aged over 60 and those suffering from severe health conditions. However, this pardon did not include Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Muallima Zeenah, who are both over 60 and have severe health conditions.

The Sheikh and his wife have been kept in illegal detention for over four years. The federal high court of Nigeria has ordered the release of the Sheikh and his wife including compensation. However, the state authorities have decided to prosecute the couple and imprison them in the Kaduna State prison where the conditions of living pose a threat for their wellbeing, especially in the current pandemic climate.

We are urging the Nigerian authorities to release Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Muallima Zeenah, other members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria and other political and relevant prisoners. This is a policy that needs to be implemented quickly in Nigeria, given the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Requested Action

Model email
If you are emailing, please use the following in the subject line:
Re: Five Years of Unlawful Detention of Sheikh Zakzaky

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat
Chair African Union Commission 
PO Box 3243 Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) W21K19,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Re: Five Years of Unlawful Detention of Sheikh Zakzaky
Dear H.E. Mousa Faki Mahamat,
12-14 December 2020 marked the fifth anniversary of the Zaria Massacre in which the Nigerian military attacked and killed over 1000 members of the Islamic Movement. To date no military personnel have been held accountable for any of the deaths. Furthermore, during this time, the leader of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have been kept in detention.
A presidential amnesty on 9 of April for 2500 prisoners excluded Sheikh Zakzaky and Muallima Zeenah, and indeed other political prisoners. The Sheikh and his wife are both aged over 60 and are suffering from poor health. I am deeply concerned about the continued delays in the case.
Sheikh Zakzaky and Muallima Zeenah continue to be held in illegal detention despite a 2016 Federal High Court ruling that their detention is unlawful and unconstitutional. I urge you to apply pressure on the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, his wife Muallima Zeenah and other political prisoners immediately. Their continuing illegal detention in Kaduna State prison poses a high risk to their health, especially in the current COVID19 outbreak.
This is a policy that needs to be implemented quickly in Nigeria not just for the Sheikh and his wife, who both have underlying health conditions, but for all political prisoners wherever possible, for the sake of justice and also the sake of Nigerian society as a whole.
[Your name]

African Union’s Contact Details:
Postal Address: PO Box 3243 Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) W21K19 Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 551 7844

Note: Due to the COVID19 outbreak, we do not advise sending letters by post