The Chairman, Resource Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Prof Abdullahi Danladi, has said the Nigerian government wants the group’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, to die in detention.
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 after his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.
Both of them are facing trial on an eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, along with other charges to which they both pleaded not guilty on September 29, 2020.
Speaking with PUNCH, Danladi said there were fears that the IMN leader could die in detention because of his medical condition and the physical and psychological trauma that he had been subjected to.
He added that the group had not committed any crime to warrant the persecution its members had faced in the hands of the Nigerian authorities.
“Certainly, there is that underlying fear. That is the fact. But concerning his age – 67, going to 70 – he is old enough. Look at the psychological torture he is subjected to. Six of his male children were killed,” he said.
“Three of them (were killed) in his presence and he was dragged over their dead bodies with their brains on his face, and then he is having bullet particles in his eyes and suffering from high blood pressure.
“With these underlying issues, it is just God’s miracle that he has survived (thus far). Just imagine somebody losing three children at a time and another three killed sometime after, and his wife shot. Many people came to defend him and over 1,000 of them were killed.
“So, much as it is true that we fear for his life, we pray that he will survive this torture. He will survive this imprisonment. He will survive this condition and the future of Nigeria is bright by God’s grace.”
He continued, “We will not continue in this degraded society where human life has no value. Every day, blood is being spilled. All over, people are being killed.
“Our resources are being taken away by a very few individuals for selfish and personal use. Nigeria has no business being poor, if only our resources can be properly utilised. That is the crime he (El-Zakzaky) has committed, telling them that they should stop stealing our money but use it for the development of society. They are not happy with that and are, thus, attempting to kill him.”