The Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada yesterday, fixed April 23 and 24, 2020 for the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat.
The Shi’ites leader and his wife appeared before the court at the resumed hearing on yesterday.
El-Zakzaky’s wife was spotted by our correspondent being wheeled into the Kaduna Correctional Centre shortly after the adjournment of the case at about 12.51 pm.
The adjournment was to enable the defendants to be medically fit to take a plea.
The court was earlier informed by one of the counsel for the defendants, Marshal Abubakar, that the couple were declined medical attention in the prison custody.
The development prompted the trial judge to summon the Controller of the Kaduna Correctional Centre to appear before him and then stood down court proceedings for over two hours.
On his part, counsel for the defendants told journalists after court proceedings that the wife of the Shi’ites leader, Zeenat, was in dire need of medical intervention.
He said, “In short, while we were there before my Lord, the honourable Justice Kurada, the wife of Mallam El-Zakzaky, (Zeenat) was vomiting blood.
That is to tell you the kind of dire medical intervention that they require.
“She was complaining that she still has a fracture wound in her head. Till this moment, she still has bullet pellets lodged in certain parts of her body.
And right there in the courtroom, she was vomiting blood and my Lord said, ‘this cannot be allowed to happen and it’s only someone who is medically fit that can take a plea or a trial.’
“Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife were supposed to take their plea and charges filed by the state against the couple over the incidents that occurred on 12 and 13 December 2015.”
He added, “On the last adjournment date, being 6 February 2020, the court had ordered that the defendants should be allowed access to their personal doctors in conjunction with the medical doctors nominated by the state Ministry of Justice and the prisons authorities.
But unfortunately, it was brought to the court’s attention that that order was frustrated by the Kaduna State Government and the prisons authorities who had refused to allow doctors of El-Zakzaky and his wife have access to them for medical examination.”
Speaking shortly after the court proceedings, counsel for the state and Director of Public Prosecutions, Dari Bayero, told reporters that all “grey areas” had been resolved.
He said the court had ordered the couple to be allowed access to their medical doctors.
He stated, “Even if they want to go for scanning in any hospital, the correctional centre should provide security for them to be taken anywhere.”
When asked why a plea had not been taken, Bayero said, “The court said it can only try sane and healthy defendants.”
Meanwhile, the trial was being held under tight security as all roads leading to the court along Independence Way, Ibrahim Taiwo Road as well as Bids Road within the metropolis, were barricaded by security operatives.
The high court had, on 5 December 2019, ordered the Department of State Services to transfer the Shi’ites leader and his wife, to the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Kaduna and to allow their lawyers access to them.