PRESS RELEASE – Nigeria: Fears grow over plans to prosecute IMN leader


Fears are mounting for the fate of the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, following reports that the federal government has authorised his transfer to the Kaduna state government in order to be prosecuted.

Reliable sources have informed IHRC that the Attorney General of Nigeria, Malami Abubakar, has signed off the Sheikh’s transfer to Kaduna state for prosecution on charges stretching back three decades.

The move is clearly another attempt by the Nigerian authorities to frustrate a court order on 2 December 2016 which demanded the sheikh and his imprisoned wife be released within 40 days and compensated for their illegal detention.

Yet despite the High Court order the pair continue to be detained.

IHRC believes that the attempt to transfer Sheikh Zakzaky is a cynical attempt by Nigerian authorities to circumvent the order and manufacture a legal fig leaf for his continued detention.

The Zakzakys have been held without charge and mainly incommunicado following their arrest during a savage military assault against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) last December. Both were shot during the attack in Zaria in which at least 1000 IMN supporters, including three sons of the couple, were killed and many properties and religious spaces belonging to the IMN and its followers destroyed.

Sheikh Zakzaky has also already lost the use of an arm and one of his eyes and his aides fear could lose his sight completely if he doesn’t receive the urgent medical treatment he requires and which the government has so far denied him.

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Notes to editors:

In March 2016 IHRC petitioned the International Criminal Court to to open a preliminary inquiry into the December 2015 massacre of IMN members. The report can be found here


IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc