El-Zakzaky’s son says mother contracted COVID-19 in Kaduna prison

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Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenat

Zeenat, the wife of the Shi’ite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has contracted COVID-19 at the Kaduna Correctional Centre.

Her son, Mohammed, disclosed this in a Thursday statement.

Zeenat and her husband, who is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), have been in detention since December 2015 when they were arrested after their members clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State.

They are currently facing charges of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace, among others before the Kaduna State High Court.

Mohammed said that authorities at the correctional centre have yet to evacuate his mother to an isolation centre for treatment despite knowing about her COVID-19 positive status.

He accused the Kaduna State Government of using his mother’s COVID-19 positive status as a tool to assassinate her.

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Six days ago, after a routine visit to the Kaduna State prison by my parents’ 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 the novel coronavirus.

“This was a routine procedure and it is important to state that she has been denied treatment for acute medical conditions, including severe arthritis of the knee for years now.

“Meanwhile, 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, Zeenah 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’s statement read in part.


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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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