Kaduna prison unaware Zeenat El-Zakzaky positive for COVID-19 | Dailytrust

Kaduna prison unaware Zeenat El-Zakzaky positive for COVID-19

The couple’s son Muhammed announced his mother’s condition this week ...

El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 after some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna

Authorities of the detention facility where the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat are being held say they are not aware Zeenat tested positive for coronavirus.

The couple’s son Muhammed announced his mother’s condition this week after the couple’s doctor visited them in detention.

But controller of Kaduna Correctional Service, Ibrahim Maradun, said he is yet to receive test results after sample was taken on Wednesday by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

He said Zeenat has been in isolation since sample was taken.

“As far as I am concerned, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) officials took her sample on Wednesday around 5pm and I am yet to receive the result,” he said.

“She has been in isolation since the day and her personal physician has been seeing her from time to time in the company of the doctors representing the state and the correctional service.”

Kaduna Corrections Command debunked reports of the infection, saying there was “no such incident in any of our facilities, as all our inmates are safe and highly protected from the virus”.

It cited its efforts in March to lock down all custodial centres and halted admission of new inmates while it installed gadgets to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols.

Their stay at the correctional facility in Kaduna started after the couple returned from a botched medical trip in India.

Releasing Zeenat

El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since 2015 after some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.

El-Zakzaky is standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, among other charges.

Their stay at the correctional facility in Kaduna started after the couple returned from a botched medical trip in India.

News of her testing positive, released by her son, raised concern about possible flare-up of coronavirus infections in Kaduna’s correction centres.

On Friday, IMN called for the release of the couple.

Members of the movement thronged Ahmadu Bello Way in Kaduna to protest continued “illegal detention” of the El-Zakzaky’s.

The group said it is deeply worried that even six days after contracting the COVID-19 while in detention at Kaduna prison, Zeenat had not been taken to any specialized hospital for such patients to receive proper medical care.

She “has been denied treatment for acute medical conditions including severe arthritis of the knee for five years now,” Ibrahim Musa, president of IMN media forum, said in a statement.

“Given her underlying medical conditions and age, her infection places her at heightened risk of severe illness and/or death. Sheikh Zakzaky himself suffers from many underlying conditions which put him at high risk of developing life-threatening symptoms should he contract the virus.”

The couple is due in court on January 25—and has been in detention since 2015 after some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna.

El-Zakzaky is standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, among other charges.

Their stay at the correctional facility in Kaduna started after the couple returned from a botched medical trip in India.

Musa said the time they have spent in custody since their arrest in 2015 reinforces the view that charges against the couple are a witchhunt and an abuse of the judicial system “in the hope they will die quickly in custody”.

“We believe Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife should not be in custody in the first place. A competent court in Abuja freed both of them on 2nd December, 2016 but the federal government contemptuously refused to obey the judgement of the court,” Musa said.

“We call upon the well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to prevail over the Federal and Kaduna State Governments to ensure maximum health care for this patient that is in her 60s and still grieving the extra-judicial killing of her 6 children. We pray to Almighty Allah to grant her good health, protect her husband and other inmates as well as the prison officials from this deadly virus.

“We strongly believe that the Buhari regime at the center and the El-Rufa’i led Kaduna state government should be held responsible for anything bad that happens to our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife.”