Hamid Ayodeji with agency reports
The Islamic Republic of Iran has asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to allow the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN),
Shiekh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to come to Iran for medical treatment.
The Prosecutor-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammed Montazeri, made this request on behalf of the Iranian government.
According to AhlulBayt News Agency, an Iran-based news organisation, Montazeri said this in a letter on Saturday.
He also called on the Nigerian judiciary, to grant bail to El-Zakzaky who is the leader of all Shi’ites in Nigeria.
Montazeri who described El-Zakzakky’s current medical condition as a source of worry to his country, also criticised the federal government’s handling of the crisis.
The letter read in part, “I, as the prosecutor general of the Islamic Republic of Iran, urge the Nigerian judicial authorities (to take steps) in line with their judicial independence and support for a captive citizen, and provide the ground for his release and transfer him to the Islamic Republic of Iran for treatment.”
Iran, which is the stronghold of the Shi’a Muslim faith, has been demanding the release of El-Zakzaky.
There were reports that the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) had asked for Iran to withdraw support for the Shi’ite leader.
El-Zakzaky lost his left eye when Nigerian soldiers raided his base in Zaria, Kaduna State, more than three years ago.
The military carried out the raid after the Shi’ites blocked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai.
The Muslim cleric’s wife also sustained serious wounds while 347 of his followers, including three of his sons were killed in the violence that ensued, according to official figures by the Kaduna State government.
The cleric has been kept in custody along with his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.
El-Zakzaky’s followers have for the last two years been holding protests mainly in Abuja, calling for his immediate release.
The protests have become increasingly violent, leading to the deaths of Shi’ites, security officials and innocent Nigerians who were caught in the
On Monday, a journalist with the Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, who was a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, was killed by a stray bullet while a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) also lost his life.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court had in 2016 ordered the cleric’s unconditional release from jail following a trial but the federal government has so far refused to obey the court order.
He is said to be suffering from health issues that require urgent medical care abroad but the Kaduna State High Court has denied him bail to travel abroad.
However, another bail hearing comes up on July 29.