The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Kaduna State Correctional Centre where they are both being held.
SaharaReporters learnt from family sources that despite their positive status, the government has refused to grant her access to medical care, which is fuelling a lot of worries.
Since the duo returned from a failed medical trip in India, the Nigerian government and Kaduna State government have detained them in the facility.
“Please, my brother, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim Zakzaky has COVID-19 in Kaduna Prison. She has been denied all forms of medical care! I'm quite worried. I just confirmed that El-Zakzaky has it too,” a family source told SaharaReporters.
Earlier, El-Zakzaky’s son, Mohammed, in a statement he signed and sent to journalists on Thursday, said his mother had completely lost her sense of smell.
He said, “Six days ago after a routine visit to the Kaduna State prison by my parent’s doctors, my mother complained of fatigue, fever and a complete loss of the ability to smell. The doctors decided to carry out a number of standard tests in order to understand what the problem was. Among the tests that were carried out was a test for COVID-19.
“This was a routine procedure and it is important to understand that she has been denied treatment for acute medical conditions, including severe arthritis of the knee for years now.
“The COVID-19 test came back positive. I imagined that due to the diligent way in which the prison management had been conducting and managing the facility, a COVID-19 outbreak would be extremely unlikely. Because we have been doing our own due diligence and taking all possible measures at all times, we imagined that they were safe from the clear and present danger of COVID-19.”
Though a Muslim, El-Zakzaky spent his sixth consecutive December 25 in detention last year.
El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were arrested by security operatives on December 14, 2015, after a clash between his followers and officers of the Nigerian Army.
At least 500 Shiites were killed during the incident with no army officer charged for the crime ever since.
But, El-Zakzaky and Zeenat have remained in detention despite several court orders calling for their release.
They are both facing eight counts of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among others.
The government accused the IMN of not recognising the Nigerian constitution and authority.
His prolonged detention has fuelled several protests by members of the Shiite movement in many Nigeria cities.