SHIITE leader Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky has been transferred to a correctional centre in Kaduna from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) where he had been held for several months since he returned from India.
Over recent weeks, the federal government has become increasingly paranoid, clamping down on political opponents, both real and imaged. Sheikh El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (ISM), has been in detention since December 2015, after being arrested following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian Army in the city of Zaria.
Since then, he has been involved in a legal battle with the authorities, who have denied him bail despite court orders instructing the DSS to release him. While in detention, however, his health has deteriorated, with the sheikh said to have lost one eye and he is also reported to have suffered several mild strokes, leading to calls for his release.
In August this year, he was allowed to go to India for treatment but returned to Nigeria within a week because of constant disagreements on how he would be treated. He claimed that he was being held in conditions worse than he detention in Nigeria and insisted that he be treated by his own chosen doctors.
Sheikh El-Zakzaky is planning to file a fresh legal suit demanding that he be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment following the recent botched trip to India. Apparently, his lawyers are fine-tuning strategies for the filing of a fresh application to enable the sheikh seek medical attention in either Turkey, Malaysia or Indonesia.
Yesterday, Sheikh El-Zakzaky was moved from the DSS headquarters following an order by Kaduna State high court judge, Gideon Kudafa ordering that he and his wife be transferred to Kaduna prison. Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife appeared before the judge yesterday almost five months after he came back from India.