Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Barely three days after he left Nigeria for medicare in an Indian hospital, the embattled leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, is back in the country.
Sources inside the movement confirmed to Daily Sun that the Shi’ite leader and his wife left Delhi at 5pm Nigerian time. With the flight time of six hours, they touched down at theNnamdi Azikiwe Internation Airport by midnight.
This was confirmed in a statement by Ibrahim Musa, spokesman of the movement, who accused the Federal Government of frustrating the treatment of the IMN leader.
“Following lack of a breakthrough in the impasse that ensued in the treatment in New Delhi of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, it is now confirmed that the Sheikh is on his way back to Abuja,” the statement said.
“In a video message sent through his office, the Sheikh said it was decided that they will be taken to the airport to be flown back to Nigeria. He has left Delhi by 17:00 Nigerian time. He prayed that that may be the best option in the circumstances.
“The Nigerian government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court is the direct cause of the impasse. The government never wanted the medical leave in the first place, and did whatever to stop it by all means possible.”
In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in Kaduna, yesterday, another staunch member of IMN, Dr. Shuaibu Musa, described the return of their leader without getting what he traveled for as a “very bad development.”
“The crux of the matter is that the government never wanted him to go for the treatment in the first place. If you recall, they opposed the application in court and that failed, they said they were going on appeal. Again, when that was not going to be favourable to them, they then put conditions they thought should be able to prevent Sheikh from going.
“After all that failed, they then took another step which was to go there and interfere with the treatment to scuttle rather than supervise it
“It is a well known fact that every patient is autonomous and has the right to chose the doctor he or she wants and that was why if you come to the hospital, there is what we call consent, which means people have their consent on treatment and you cannot impose treatment on anybody.
“They went there to ensure that the hospital does not admit, accept or treat him to the point that they arranged doctor for him to see.
“So, Sheikh then decided that, rather than face all that there, he should come back home and whatever is going to happen should happen at home. That is just what is going on.”
The IMN leader had earlier raised the alarm over the situation in India, saying it was worse than what he and his wife experienced in Nigeria.
In an audio tape that went viral on Wednesday, he had said he was being held under heavy security, expressing the desire to return home.
El-Zakzaky complaimed that he was not given access to his preferred doctors, adding that he did not trust those they asked to examine him.
But the Federal Government had dismissed his claim, accusing him of not complying with the terms of the Kaduna high court, which granted him medical leave.
In a statement, Grace Gekpe, permanent secretary, ministry of information,had said the IMN leader demanded to have his passport and sought free movement. She added that he wanted to receive visitors and also made a request to be checked into a 5-star hotel.
She said he had behaved so badly that the Indian authorities were willing to return him to Nigeria.
The Shi’ite’s leader’s daughter, Suhaila had also raised the alarm that his father is suffering from lead poisoning which could result to his death.
“I am really worried… especially because of the lead and cadmium poisoning,” she said.
“His doctors say if he gets to a certain level his organs could start failing and that’s really scary because that means he could just die at any moment,” she said in an interview with BBC.
While noting that the embattled cleric deserves to get proper medical attention, Suhaila said her father told her that he was unhappy with the heavy presence of security operatives at the Medanta Hospital.
El-Zakzaky, in a viral video, said him and his wife were placed under security and treated like criminals, a development he claimed could affect his psychology worse than the infamous Kirikiri maximum prison would do to him.
“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,” he said.
“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”
He further said he could not trust the Indian authorities, citing Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey as preferred destinations.
“We won’t submit ourselves to people we don’t trust. There is a need for us to go back home since it has been agreed that we should travel out to get medical attention and India is not a place we can trust,” he said.
“There are other countries that have volunteered to take care of our treatment, some are Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. We can choose from amongst these three.”
The Federal Government had dismissed the cleric’s claim, accusing him of making unreasonable demands, including wanting to check into a 5-star hotel.