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El-Zakzaky’s wife contracts COVID-19 in Kaduna prison

"Complained of fatigue, fever and a complete loss of the ability to smell," her son said

Zeenat, wife of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has contracted COVID-19 at the Kaduna correctional centre, raising concerns for a possible rash of infections at the facility.

Their son Muhammed announced her condition in a statement.

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.

Their son Mohammed announced her condition after the couple’s doctor visited the couple in prison last week.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“But once I heard of the test result, my first action was to ensure that it was tried, tested and confirmed. I expected that following our risky entrance into the predictable petri dish of Kaduna State prison for what it is, the person in charge of Kaduna State prison would officially do his job and inform the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the chain of command that the current campaign of torture, extortion, corruption and murder has come to this and my mother, Zeenat Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, needs to be immediately hospitalised.

“My mother is still in Kaduna prison at the moment, yet to be hospitalised and to receive proper health care.”

Mohammed further alleged that his mother’s COVID-19 positive status is being used as an “assassination tool”.

Zeenat’s legal counsel and human rights lawyer Femi Falana also confirmed his client’s condition, saying, “It is true. She has tested positive”, according to reports.

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