The ordeal of the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheik El-zakzaky, took another interesting turn on Wednesday, in India. El-zakzaky who was recently granted bail by a Federal High Court in Kaduna for a medical treatment overseas was about to be sent back home without the needed treatment.
The court has on the 5th of August, granted El-zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment, an order the Federal Government complied with unlike in the other cases that resulted in him being in prison since 2015.
However, he was to be accompanied by some state officials to ascertain that he comes back and face trial for mass murder and disturbance of public peace. It was based on this rule that he traveled to India on August 12.
On August 13, in an audio message confirmed by the spokesman of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, El-zakzaky was lamenting about the poor condition of Medanta Hospital, New Dehli, which he personally chose for his treatment. He complained that his condition in India is worse than it was in Nigeria. The Hospital was heavily militarized and he has been denied access to his personal doctors as agreed upon. Therefore, he wishes to return back to Nigeria, as he would not allow Nigerian doctors or those recommended by them to treat him and his wife.
It was upon this lamentation that the FG tried to clear matters. In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, on the 14th of August, the FG threw light on the events at Medanta Hospital India, respecting El-zakzaky.
The statement reads that the turn in events started as soon the group got to Dubai, and the Sheik started to display attitude of ulterior motive by reneging on laid down rules. He requested that his passport be given back to him, a request that state officials did not yield to. It got worse as soon they got to India, and he refused to submit himself to preliminary medical checks. Additionally, he demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds and requested to check into a 5-star Hotel, and be treated from there instead of the hospital.
He also wanted to nominate doctors of his choice to join the ones delegated by Medanta Hospital to administer treatment on him and his wife. It was upon these frivolous demands that the Hospital got frustrated and expressed willingness to send him back to Nigeria with immediate effect. For fear there may be more reasons to his demands than it appears.
The FG has however, reiterated its ready to go on with his prosecution on his return to Nigeria. The statement affirms:
“The Government also wishes to use this opportunity to affirm its readiness to undertake the prosecution of El-zakzaky through due process when he is returned to the country.”
The Government also urged the general public to disregard any foul cry from him or anyone associated with him.
However, Musa confirmed to ThisDay that the issue has been resolved after the initial protest and the intervention of the Islamic Human Right Commission (ISRC), who sponsored El-zakzaky’s medical trip to India. And El-zakzaky and his wife, Zeena have been given access to their medical personnel. Although he is yet to be allowed to move beyond the hospital premises, negotiation is ongoing to that effect.
The negotiation did not work, it only extended the drama to a few more hours until El-zakzaky got tired of it all and called it a day. Musa confirmed that the embattled IMN is on his way to Nigeria, choosing to be left untreated because he can’t accept it the government’s way. The Government has since apologized to India for what it called “needless embarrassment” by El-zakzaky and his entourage.
However, many believe that the Government cannot be trusted, hence, their side of the story should not be taken for the truth. It be could recalled that the same Government has disobeyed bail court orders severally respecting E-zakzaky, which resulted in his incommunicado. While his children and followers were killed for protesting for his release from prison.
Following all these happenings, there is concern that the Government’s way of handling E-zakzaky and his Shiite religious group may escalate to something similar to Boko Haram extremism.