Demand for the release of Shaykh Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), has grown worldwide.
The campaigners demand proper medical care for the Shaykh and his wife Zeenat and their immediate release.
Such treatment is only available abroad.
A 24/7 vigil outside the Nigerian High Commission in London has been underway for a week organized by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Organization (IHRC).
A huge protest has also been planned outside the Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa, the Canadian capital for today (Friday July 19).
The rally will start in front of the Saudi embassy, one of the principal sponsors of the Nigerian regime that is brutalizing Shaykh Zakzaky, his family and followers.
Participants will then march to the Nigerian High Commission to press their demand for the immediate release and for proper medical treatment of Shaykh Zakzaky and his wife.
While Western regimes and institutions have virtually ignored the plight of the activist-scholar and his wife, many academics, human rights activists and political analysts in the West have joined the campaign for his release.
Fifty Western intellectuals have called on UN chief Antonio Guterres to pressure Nigeria to immediately release the popular leader to get emergency medical treatment.
“We write to demand that Shaykh Zakzaky and his wife Mallima Zeenat be allowed to leave the country for urgent medical treatment,” says the letter. It further states that the Shaykh’s health has deteriorated in the last few days.
They urged the world body to take concrete action against ongoing violations being committed against scholars and rights campaigners by the Nigerian regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari is a former military dictator who has now donned civilian garb but has not given up on the brutal ways of the military.
In December 2015, the Nigerian military attacked the compound of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria.
More than 1,000 members of the Islamic Movement were gunned down in cold blood including Shaykh Zakzaky’s three teenage sons.
The Shaykh and his wife also suffered serious injuries in the military assault.
He lost his left eye and sustained other injuries for which he has not received adequate medical care so far.
The regime then sent in bulldozers and demolished the entire compound including the Husseiniyya where the Shaykh would give dars (Islamic lessons).
The Shaykh and his wife have been held in appalling conditions in prison ever since despite a federal high court in Nigeria ordering his release in December 2016.
Recent reports indicate that Shaykh Zakzaky may have been poisoned since dangerous levels of lead and cadmium were found in his blood.
In revealing the poisoning of his father, Mohammad Zakzaky, the Shaykh’s only surviving son said his father needed urgent medical attention that was only available abroad.
He feared his father was being killed through slow poisoning.
The Shaykh’s lawyer said his client had suffered a stroke and had not slept for nearly a week, raising further concerns about his health.
Shaykh Zakzaky has a long history of struggle against injustice and oppression in Nigeria.
Even in his student days, he was organizing mass protests. He has been in and out of prison throughout Nigeria’s long line of military dictators.
The current regime’s wrath has fallen on Shaykh Zakzaky because he has awakened the people of Nigeria. One manifestation of this is the massive Quds Day rallies held in Nigeria.
Outside Iran, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria holds the largest Quds Day rallies throughout the world.
His appeal has transcended national boundaries and spread into neighboring West African countries as well.
The Shaykh’s growing popularity has alarmed the regime and its backers, primarily the Saudis and Zionists.
While the Saudis dole out large amounts of cash to the regime and its paid agents in Nigeria, the Zionists have cultivated close links with the Nigerian military.
This explains why the Nigerian regime gets away literally with murder of innocent people.
But people of conscience are beginning to mobilize and demand an end to brutality and fair treatment of the Shaykh, his wife and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.