By Shola Abayomi.
The Federal Government has accused the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzaky of displaying ulterior motives against laid down procedures since he arrived India for medical treatment.
El-Zakzaky had earlier lamented meeting a different set of doctors at the Medanta Hospital, India, despite an agreement that he and his wife would be treated by doctors he had approved of before his trip.
The IMN leader also wondered why he and his wife were placed under security tighter than that of Nigeria.
He said: “All what we have seen here, have shown us that there is no trust, they just brought us here for another detention. I have been in detention for about thirteen years but I’ve never seen this kind of security that I’m seeing here, even at the door of my hospital room, there are many security personnel waiting, heavily armed.
“They didn’t even allow me to go to the next room, I started asking myself, all these while I’ve been in detention, I’ve never seen this type. Even if I’m in the cell, they usually lock us up around 9 p.m. and open the cell around 7 a.m. and they allow us to go anywhere we want in the area we are.
“Even Kirikiri prison will not affect me psychologically like this one. It will not be possible for us to come out of detention just to get medical attention and now find ourself in another form of detention.”
However, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, the Federal Government called on Nigerians to shun El-Zakzaky’s claims, adding that the IMN leader was demanding for free movement and access to visitors of all kinds.
The statement also disclosed that El-Zakzaky had requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.
The statement reads: “The Court on 5th August, 2019 granted Sheikh Ibraheem EL-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment. Consequently, the Government and its relevant agencies took steps to comply with the Order.
“In line with the Court Order, El-Zakzaky was approved to embark on the trip with State officials and his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal Doctors was not opposed by the government.
“On 12th August, 2019, he and other members of the entourage went to India via Dubai. It is to be noted that El-Zakzaky particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India. However, on reaching Dubai, El-Zakzaky began to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.
“He requested that his passport be handed over to him but the State officials would not budge to his pressure. The situation became worse in India as he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
“In addition, he demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds as well as requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital. The request was refused on the ground that he came into the country for medicals and not as a tourist (more so that his Visa was issued on medical grounds and not for tourism). He also demanded that Police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.
“Against medical ethics and standard practice, he requested to nominate Doctors of his choice to join the ones tasked by Medanta Hospital to perform medical treatment on him and his wife. This created a stalemate, which the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.
“Frustrated by his antics, the Indian authorities have expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect. This is on the account that they will not allow him use their country to internationalize his group’s activities.
“Against this background, the Nigerian government wishes to commend the stand of the Indian Government as well as apologize to her for the unruly behaviour of El-Zakzaky. Similarly, the attention of the public and indeed the international community is hereby drawn to these unfortunate developments.
“The government also wishes to use this opportunity to affirm its readiness to undertake the prosecution of El-Zakzaky through due process if and when he is returned to the country. On this note, his foul cry that he is being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.”