Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has accused the Federal Government of marking him and his wife, Zeenat, for ‘passport flagging’ three months after the couple were discharged and acquitted of criminal charges by the Kaduna State High Court.
The couple, who lead the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, was stopped from acquiring fresh international passports so that they could travel overseas for medical attention after security operatives reportedly lost their travel documents during their six years in detention.
According to him, they have no intention of fleeing from the country since the Court had declared them innocent of the eight-count charge brought against them.
Narrating his ordeal, the Islamic cleric said 38 bullet fragments with dangerous levels of lead and cadmium were still lodged in his cheek up to the head while his wife also bore a full bullet in her pelvis since 2015 which require urgent medical attention abroad.
He said, “We were shot severally, such shooting that a human being cannot survive. They (security operatives) battered my right side, and battered right eye. Around the head, from the cheek up to the head, they counted about 38 fragments. Also, my wife has gunshot on her stomach and her thigh.
“They took us to their hospital and somehow removed some of the bullets without putting her under anaesthesia. It was later in another hospital that more bullets were removed, and she still has one complete bullet in her body, which found its place in her pelvis. And they said, at that time, they could not remove it.
“Up till now, these fragments release poisons like lead and cadmium. I am still living with some amount of those poisons in my body, including the fragments of bullets. It’s the Will of Allah that I’m still alive; because when they tested the level of lead in my body, at one time, it was about 244, which they said a normal human being should contain only 10, but I had 244 in my body. Well, that’s the will of God that I’m alive, anyway.
“On 28th July, this year, 2021, we were discharged and acquitted, and we were exonerated from all the eight charges against us. At the end of the day, it was found that none of us committed any offence, and then they were ordered to pay compensation, yet nothing happens. None at all.
“They know that we have a health issue, but we were kept with these difficulties incarcerated for almost 6 years. But, by the grace of God, we survived it. Here (in Nigeria), they said they could not remove it, but our doctors, who came from outside the country, studied the situation and said they would be able to remove it.
“An order was given by the court of law, that we have the right to seek this medical assistance outside Nigeria. We were thinking that immediately we are out of the prison, it will not be a matter of days we will leave this country. When we came out, we were hopping to get our passports back.
In fact, our lawyer, after they ruled that we were discharged, went and begged the presiding judge to give an order that our passports should be released to us because of our health problem. The judge said that there was no need for him to give any order, because we have no charges. We have been discharged. He said we were entitled to all our property. The court doesn’t have to give orders.
“When we came out we were thinking in a matter of a week it will be okay for us. But, up till now, the passports have not reached our hand. At one time, the security operatives said they have lost the passports, and they are no longer in their hands.
“So, we took steps to make another one. But, at the end of the day, we were told that “passport flagging” has been placed on us; meaning that the two of us have no right to leave this country. We don’t know what for. At least, officially, they didn’t say it.
“So the matter has not come to an end. We are still being, in a way, incarcerated, because we are not allowed out of the country for no reason.”