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Our protest for Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s freedom continues, IMN vows


Hundreds of Shiites demonstrate in Abuja. Kola SULAIMON / AFP

• As FG Defends Role In Aborted Medical Trip
• DSS Picks Him On Arrival From New Delhi
• Group Counters Government’s Claim

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Shiites have vowed to continue with their protest, just as Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky and his wife arrived the country after rejecting treatment in India.The Islamic group yesterday expressed displeasure over the manner armed security agents at the Nnmadi Azikiwe International Airport whisked El-Zakzaky and his wife away on arrival from New Delhi where they both undertook a botched treatment.

In a statement issued by the Spokesman of IMN, Mallam Ibrahim Musa, Shiites accused the Federal Government of allegedly frustrating the treatment of the IMN leader and his wife in India.Musa pointed out that “the Islamic Movement will, however, continue its struggle to ensure that our leader gets the appropriate medical treatment he deserves as ordered by the Kaduna High court. 

“And as we continue with the struggle, we wish to reiterate our call for the federal government to comply with an earlier Abuja High Court ruling that has freed him since 2016. We believe obedience to this court order will finally solve the crisis that has been lingering since the Zaria genocide of December 2015.”


Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, government alleged that the IMN leader with total disrespect and complete loss of decorum for international procedures while in India, initiated contacts with a team of lawyers led by Ali Zia Kabir Chaudary and Gunjan Singh in that country.She further alleged that El-Zakzaky also contacted some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and other Shiite groups adding that his aim was to seek asylum and eventually relocate to another country. 

She said: “It is important to note that if an Indian court had granted El-Zakzaky asylum or leave to travel to another country, it would have violated the Nigerian court order that granted him permission to travel for medical treatment. However, he used the opportunity of being in India to attempt to internationalise his cause by mobilising the rights groups. Even most unfortunate and rather embarrassing, as earlier stated, was his quest to be relocated to a five-star hotel to receive visitors instead of being admitted in the hospital as a sick person he claimed to be.”

Gekpee, who claimed that El-Zakzaky’s spouse went further to antagonise the Indian and Nigerian security agents, accusing the latter of killing her children, stressed that these acts were aimed at winning international sympathy as well as disparaging the Nigerian Government.

IMN, however, countered the government’s claim as its spokesman explained: “As our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has landed safely at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, we wish to set the records straight in order to disabuse the minds of Nigerians from the false claims perpetrated in some sponsored stories and articles in the media concerning his aborted medical treatment in India.”

Accusing the Government of alleged plans to exterminate El-Zakzaky’s life in India, IMN said, “we vehemently condemn the way the security agents whisked him away upon arrival without allowing the multitude of journalists that were waiting for him for hours to have a chat with him”, saying, “we urge the security agency holding him hostage to declare to the public where they are keeping him in the country.”

Musa argued: “It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian authorities had tried all their antics to see that the Sheikh wasn’t given a medical leave. Distrustful of the Nigerian government’s offer of a jet to take him to the destination, having survived its attempts to poison and kill him while in detention, our leader Sheikh Zakzaky declined the offer and chose to pay for his trip through the Emirates Airline.

“Their (El-Zakzaky and wife) ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were scheduled to board the plane to Dubai. After a two-hour drive from Kaduna to Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, they were not given enough time to rest before boarding the plane. They endured an eight- hour flight to Dubai and another three-hour flight to New Delhi.

“Under normal circumstances, as patients suffering life-threatening ailments, they shouldn’t have been subjected to such exhaustion. Nonetheless, our leader and his wife endured the journey hoping that they would get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.”Musa added: “Even though they needed rest, on arrival they were wheeled to a hospital without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria. They were then subjected to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that examined them in Nigeria and when they requested for their presence, it was turned down. Even a physician that came from London was also denied access to them. It was at this point that Sheikh Zakzaky refused any attempt to have him forcefully treated.

“Moreso, the hospital compromised its stance and medical ethics and, as a result, the Sheikh lost interest in the hospital and demanded to see his own doctors for a substitute arrangement. It is well within every patient’s right to decide whether or not to be treated and to also decide who attends to his health. It is called “giving of consent,” which every sane autonomous person with capacity is entitled to.


He noted that contrary to the Nigerian government’s press statement which misinformed that it was against “medical ethics and standard practice,” it is in fact at the very essence of medical ethics, which every elementary medical person knows.”Musa continued: “The interference of the government raised suspicion that it was planning to kill the Sheikh in India using its international connections. He insisted that if he would not be allowed to see the doctors that brought him to India, he would rather come back to Nigeria and seek another destination for his treatment.

“This became clear because of government’s stance insisting on other doctors than the ones that he was to meet India. They finally decided to bring him back for refusing to succumb to be treated by their chosen doctors.“It is worth noting that the Kaduna High Court allowed the Sheikh to go to India with the government only supervising. Instead the federal government presented him to the Indian government as a dangerous suspect with an unknown ailment coming to India and demanded that stringent security be placed on him. There was even a report that the security agents in India subjected him to physical assault.

“It is glaringly clear that the Nigerian government had an ulterior motive it was nursing using its connections in India when it violated court order and interfered with the procedures of the Sheikh’s treatment.“This can also be deduced from the way the security agents whisked him away to an unknown destination after arrival at the Abuja International airport, without allowing him to have audience with the journalists that were waiting for his arrival,” Musa concluded.


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