The Kaduna State Command of Nigeria Correctional Service has responded to a claim by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that Zeenah Ibrahim, the wife of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the movement, has contracted COVID-19 while in detention.
IMN had complained that Zeenah “has not been taken to any specialised hospital for such patients to receive proper medical care.”
However, AD Wadai, Public Relations Officer of the command, in a statement on Friday evening said there was no such incident in any of the command’s facilities, insisting that inmates were highly protected from contracting the virus.
Wadai stated that the command had closed all of its facilities a month after the first incident of COVID-19 was officially reported in Nigeria in February 2020.
Admission of new inmates was only lifted in June 2020 when all necessary measures to prevent the disease from entering the facilities were put in place, he said.
However, Ibrahim Maradun, the Controller of the command, has reportedly given a slightly different narrative.
According to him, Zeenah was tested by officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday but the result was not yet out.
“As far as I am concerned, the NCDC officials took her sample on Wednesday around 5p.m. and I am yet to receive the result,” Maradun said.
According to him, she has been in an isolation centre since the sample was taken.
Zeenah and her husband, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, were arrested in 2015 following a confrontation between IMN members and the Nigerian Army that led to the extrajudicial killing of over 300 civilians.
The couple has since been in detention despite a court order in 2016 granting them bail and ordering the Department of State Services to pay a fine of N50 million over their detention.
Their detention has been challenged by IMN members who have repeatedly taken to the streets in protest over the years despite efforts from the police and the military to stop them.
Several members of the movement have been killed and injured in the process of demanding for the release of the couple.
The couple’s next court hearing session is on Monday in Kaduna.