Sheikh Zakzaky Receives Enthusiastic Welcome in Abuja After Health Trip


From Muhammad, Ahmad, Aliyu and Fatima.

In a momentous event on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people warmly welcomed Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the Shia sect in Nigeria, upon his return from a health trip to Iran. The grand reception took place in the capital, Abuja, where over one million followers gathered at the national stadium to express their joy and support.

Addressing the multitude of followers, Sheikh Zakzaky conveyed his gratitude for the warm reception, marking a significant occasion. This event stands as the first major gathering where the esteemed leader addressed his followers since his release from Kaduna prison in 2021. The High Court of Kaduna state acquitted him of all charges brought against him by the government.

Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement, had embarked on a journey to Iran on October 11, 2023, seeking treatment for his and his wife, Mrs Zeenah Ibrahim's, ailments. These health issues arose from the Nigerian army's attack on their house in December 2015.

In December 2015, soldiers, acting on behalf of the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari, attacked Sheikh Zakzaky's residence, resulting in the tragic death of about a thousand of his disciples, including family members. Following the attack, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were arrested and detained outside security authorities for approximately six years, ultimately gaining their freedom on July 28, 2021.

After two years of their release, in October 2023, the Nigerian government, now under Bola Ahmad Tinubu, returned their travel documents, permitting them to seek medical treatment abroad.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, at approximately 1:25, Leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, accompanied by his wife Mrs Zeenah and their entourage, returned to Nigeria. The dignitaries landed at the Abuja airport, proceeding to a designated area where meticulous preparations were made for the warm reception by his followers. 

This comprehensive report is compiled from National Pulse reporters who attended the event and have been diligently following developments since 2015.

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