6th April, 2016
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has revealed that the leader of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been held by the Department of State Services (DSS) is partially blind.
El-Zakzaky who has been denied access to his legal team for months has been incommunicado since 13 December.
Ibrahim Musa, media president of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has repeatedly stated that many attempts have been made to reach him but all efforts hit a brickwall as security agencies.
Head of his legal team Falana has now stated that medical doctors are currently battling to save Zakzaky’s right eye, noting that, his left eye is irreparably damaged.
In a letter to the DSS demanding El-Zakzaky’s immediate release, Falana said armed soldiers shot at Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, “several times.”
“As a result of the brutal attack, Sheikh Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one,” said Mr. Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria.
“To compound the physical pain and mental anguish that our clients were subjected to in the circumstance, the Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service have held them incommunicado for the past three and half months.”
The El-Zakzakys have been in detention since December last year, after a violent clash between members of the Shi’ite sect and the Nigerian army.
On December 12, armed soldiers clashed with members of the sect at Zaria, Kaduna, after the latter allegedly blocked the passage of the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
The next day, the soldiers returned to unleash more violence on the sect members.
More than 300 members were believed to have been killed in the attack, which the army initially described as an attempt to assassinate Mr. Buratai, an army General.
In January, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Mr. El-Zakzaky’s group, said their leader and his wife were recuperating from gunshot wounds at an undisclosed location in Abuja.
Mr. Falana said a similar incident in 2014 resulted in a detachment of the Nigerian Army killing three of Mr. El-Zakzaky’s children.
“The report of the fact-finding Commission of Enquiry set up by the government has not seen the light of day,” he said.