A Letter to President Buhari on Sheikh Zakzaky’s deteriorating health


H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Office of the President

Aso Rock, Abuja


Tuesday 14 February 2017

Dear President Buhari,

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is writing to you to urgently intervene in the case of the imprisoned leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky.

Concerns are mounting for the Sheikh’s deteriorating health following injuries sustained from gunshot wounds during the military assault against the IMN in December 2015.

During that attack in Zaria in which over 1000 people were killed, Sheikh Zakzaky lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes.

Since then, together with his wife, he has been in the custody of Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency (DSS), detained without charge. Reports from family members now indicate that he is in real danger of losing sight in his other eye.

Despite repeated pleas Sheikh Zakzaky has not been allowed access to suitable medical treatment. The most immediate requirement is for him to be seen by a specialist opthalmologist in a well-equipped facility where treatment can be urgently administered if deemed to be necessary.

You will no doubt be mindful of the fact that prompt and effective intervention can help secure the best medical outcomes for patients. This is why you yourself have travelled to London to seek medical treatment twice since last June.

Having availed yourself of the opportunity to access specialist treatment it would surely be wrong of you to prevent other Nigerian citizens from doing the same whether that it is inside or outside the country.

Sheikh Zakzaky is a double victim. Firstly he is being held illegally by the DSS in flagrant violation of a recent High Court order demanding his release. At the same time the detaining authorities are preventing him from receiving urgent medical attention which is only aggravating his condition.

In the interests of justice, compassion and fairness We urge you to immediately allow Sheikh Zakzaky to access urgent medical care and to release him unconditionally in line with the law and due process.

Yours sincerely,

Massoud Shadjareh