Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenah Ibrahim, arrived at Imam Khomeini International Airport in the capital Tehran on Wednesday and were warmly received by the Iranian people as well as their supporters and followers upon arrival.
The participants, in their hundreds, held placards and waved Iranian national flags as well as portraits of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and late anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in support of the prominent Nigerian Muslim cleric.
“I am very happy that such a crowd supports the resistance today, and I have nothing to say but to thank you dear ones,” Sheikh Zakzaky said in an address at the airport.
Pointing to the divine promise of the victory of truth over falsehood, he stated, “We are all under a great test, and it is hoped that the Islamic Revolution will bring about change in the whole world, including in the US and Europe, to set the ground for the emergence of the last Shia Imam, Imam Mahdi (PBUH).”
Sheikh Zakzaky, the founder of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, is scheduled to attend an official ceremony held in the University of Tehran on Saturday in recognition of his self-effacing character and distinguished sacrifices in promoting Islam in the African continent.
In December 2015, Nigerian army troops attacked Sheikh Zakzaky’s residence and a place of worship belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, killing over three hundred and forty of his supporters in Zaria, Kaduna state.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife have lost their six sons, three of whom were killed during the Zaria Massacre.
He had remained under state detention in the Nigerian capital pending his release, which was ordered in late 2016. In 2019, a court in Kaduna state granted him and his wife bail to seek treatment abroad but they returned from India after three days due to unfair treatment and tough restrictions by security operatives deployed to the medical facility.
Last year, the Kaduna state higher court exonerated him from any charges and ordered his immediate release after 2,055 days of illegal detention.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria will mark the eighth anniversary of the Zaria Massacre this year. Remembering the massacre has become an annual event where members pray for those who were killed and injured by the security forces.