We take a look at why El-Zakzaky is heading for treatment in India and what exactly he is going to be treating.

On August 5, 2019, Justice Darius Khobo of the Kaduna High Court finally granted leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, permission to travel to India for medical care.

El-Zakzaky has been in jail since 2015 after his supporters clashed with officers driving in a convoy in which Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, was travelling, in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Soldiers reportedly killed around 350 Shiites on the day, after leveling El-Zakzaky’s compound and a nearby mosque. 

‘Like Buhari, El-zakzaky deserves overseas medical treatment,’ says Shiites (Pulse)
‘Like Buhari, El-zakzaky deserves overseas medical treatment,’ says Shiites (Pulse)

El-Zakzaky was not released despite a 2016 court order to that effect.

His continued detention sparked violent and fatal protests from the Shiites on the streets of the capital city of Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria's northern region. 

Which hospital in India will Zakzaky be receiving treatment?

Zakzaky and his wife, Zinat, were granted permission to travel to India for medical treatment.

The Zakzakys will be receiving treatment at the Medanta Hospital in New Delhi, India.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has staged a series of protests demanding the release of its leader Ibrahim Zakzaky (SaharaReporters)
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria has staged a series of protests demanding the release of its leader Ibrahim Zakzaky (SaharaReporters)
AFP

Operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), as well as other officials of the Kaduna State government will be accompanying Zakzaky on this trip.

What’s the real issue with Zakzaky’s health?

Zakzaky’s health has in fact been deteriorating since he was taken into DSS custody in 2015, reports say. 

Zakzaky’s lawyer, Femi Falana, had said eight medical reports attached to the last submitted bail application showed that Zakazy required urgent medical attention.

Zakzaky is suffering from an eye condition called Glaucoma. 

Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in a detention facility since 2015 (Guardian)
Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in a detention facility since 2015 (Guardian)

Zakzaky’s lawyers say while in detention, the spiritual leader of the Shiites in Nigeria lost an eye to advanced glaucoma; amid fears that he was well on his way to losing the other.

While pleading for Zakzaky to be granted bail last month, Falana had said: “Doctors have confirmed that he has lost an eye and the second one may be lost on account of advanced glaucoma. Secondly, pellets lodged in his body since 2015 have not been removed”. 

Femi Falana SAN, is El-Zakzaky's lawyer (Punch)
Femi Falana SAN, is El-Zakzaky's lawyer (Punch)

Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve which is critical for good vision. It results from an abnormally high pressure in the eye.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness especially for people over the age of 60. 

Soldiers clashed with Shiites in Kaduna in 2015 (Punch)
Soldiers clashed with Shiites in Kaduna in 2015 (Punch)
AFP

Falana also added that pellets - shrapnel from the 2015 clash - was causing lead poisoning in Zakzaky's body.

In July, the federal government obtained an order from the federal high court in Abuja, proscribing the Shiites as a terrorist organization after latest marches led to the deaths of a police officer, a trainee journalist and more than a dozen Shiites in Nigeria’s pristine capital city of Abuja.