Health of Shaykh Zakzaky Deteriorates; Action Needed

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Editors Note: Since the December 2015 Zaria massacre against Shaykh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his followers at the hands of the Nigerian army, Shaykh Zakzaky has been denied treatment and his health has slowly deteriorated. Recently, the Islamic Human Rights Commission has put out an urgent action alert to bring attention to the plight of Shaykh Zakzaky.

The release was edited slightly from the original for grammar and formatting.


Below please find an update on Sheikh Zakzaky’s health which has further deteriorated in the last few days, the Islamic Movement continued regular protests in the Nigerian Capital Abuja and call on the international community to accelerate efforts for the immediate release of the illegally detained Sheikh.
We request campaigners to write to the Nigerian Ambassador / High Commissioner in your country and demand the immediate release of Sheikh Zakzaky for medical treatment, see Action Alert 1 provided below. Also we request campaigners to continue with last week’s Action Alert and if you have not received a response send a reminder email to the Commonwealth and raise your concern about their inactive role and demand immediate action to end human rights violations by the Nigerian government. Model letter provided below in Action Alert 2.

To find out more about the Zaria massacre, read IHRC’s submission to the International Criminal Court HERE

To find out how you can help further, please visit the IHRC FreeZakzaky campaign page HERE

Free Zakzaky!

ACTION ALERT 1: Urgent Medical Treatment For Sheikh Zakzaky

  1. UK based campaigners CLICK HERE to send an email to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London
  2. Campaigners outside the UK please use the model letter below and find the name, address and contact details of the Nigerian Ambassador / High Commissioner in your country here:


[Insert name / address of
Person you are sending this to]

Dear [insert name],

I write to demand that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Muallima Zeenah are immediately allowed to leave the country for urgent medical treatment due to their critically deteriorating medical conditions.

The Federal Government will be held directly responsible if anything happen to the Sheikh or his wife. In December 2016 court ordered the Zakzakys’ release saying it was illegal and unconstitutional but the Government continues to stubbornly defy the order.

Sheikh Zakzaky remains in the Government custody, held without charge, along with his wife Zeenah since being detained over two years ago during a savage assault on his movement’s supporters by the armed forces.

Sheikh Zakzaky suffered stroke early January and his condition is further deteriorated in last few days. He was shot severally more than two years ago, losing his left eye in the process and is currently at a great risk of losing the other eye except something drastic is done, aggravating an already poor state of health and prompting supporters to ask that he be freed from detention to receive urgent medical treatment.
The continued detention of both of these figures as well as hundreds of others has been a huge stain on the reputation of your government and Nigeria. By not allowing Sheikh Zakzaky and Mallima Zeenah, whose health continues to severely deteriorate as a result of injuries inflicted by your authorities, the medical treatment he needs, you are adding further evidence of your government’s inhumanity and cruelty.
I look forward to your confirmation of their release for treatment by return.
Your sincerely,
[Your signature if posting] [Your name]

Addresses and salutations

(i) President Muhammadu Buhari
H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Office of the President
Aso Rock, Abuja
You can submit an email by this form but this page often does not work:

(ii) Nigerian Ambassador / High Commissioner in your country
Please find the name, address and contact details of the relevant diplomat in your country here:

ACTION ALERT 2: Raise Your Concern About the Commonwealth’s Inactive Role and Demand Immediate Action

  1. CLICK HERE to send an email to Commonwealth or use model letter provided below to send it by Post
  2. lease forward any response you receive to IHRC on

Model email / letter

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC
Commonwealth Secretariat
Marlborough House
Pall Mall

24 March 2018

Dear Baroness Scotland QC,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the continued violations of the human rights of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and to raise my concerns about inaction of the Commonwealth in seeking to end these violations by the Nigerian government. Since the Zaria Massacre and the imprisonment of IMN’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky in December 2015 the situation has progressively deteriorated for the movement and its supporters.

I am sure you are aware of the International Criminal Court’s Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (2017). In this report the ICC stated they had made a preliminary determination and would seek further clarification of the events from the Nigerian government. This is a clear indication that the ICC believe the massacre may be a crime against humanity.

We understand the Commonwealth is monitoring the situation but this matter has now dragged on for over two years and requires urgent action over and above just monitoring the situation, especially as innocent lives are at risk. Hundreds were arrested following the massacre and remain in prison despite no conviction. Many of those who were present and wounded are still awaiting treatment for injuries as they are being denied access to medical treatment. Nigerian authorities are regularly attacking IMN members and in recent FreeZakzaky protests over the last two months they have arrested, tortured, and killed many of the peaceful protesters, including senior movement leader Sheikh Qaseem Umar, who was shot by Nigerian police while peacefully protesting the illegal detention of Sheikh Zakzaky.

Shaykh Zakzaky was arrested by Nigerian military on 14 December 2015 and has been held since, contrary to a clear court order to set him free. Since his arrest, Shaykh Zakzaky has lost his sight in one eye and the use of one arm. Shaykh Zakzaky also suffered a stroke in January 2018 which has further aggravated his dire condition. His condition requires specialist medical attention, and may need him to travel abroad to get treatment.

Due to the seriousness and urgency of the situation I demand that the Commonwealth Secretariat takes the following action:

  1. Suspend Nigeria’s membership of the Commonwealth for the violence perpetrated by its army against the IMN;
  2. Send a representative to Nigeria to see Mu’allim Zakzaky, his family and other detainees to assess their situation;
  3. Demand the release of those held after mass arrests or being handed over to civilian police authorities;
  4. Demand the Nigerian government provide proper and immediate medical attention to all detainees and that all are released;
  5. Call for an independent investigation, under the auspices of an international body like the UN, into the violence and mass graves. The bodies of those in the mass graves need to be exhumed, identified and returned to their families. The Nigerian government and army needs to be held accountable for these crimes.

I look forward to hearing from you

Yours Sincerely,

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