By Gideon Njoku
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, says it is considering bringing back its leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky to Nigeria, alleging that he is being treated like a criminal in India.
Based on a Kaduna High Court order, El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, who had been in detention since 2015, were admitted to bail on the grounds of a medical emergency.
They left Nigeria on Monday on an Emirate Airline flight and arrived India. They were met at the airport by Indian hospital officials, and wheeled straight to their hospital of choice, Medenta Hospital, New Delhi.
But barely 24 hours later, the IMN is crying foul, protesting the alleged humiliating condition under which its leader and his wife are kept in India.
Abubakar Abduraham, the Chair of Free El-Zakzaky Committee, alleged, on Wednesday, that the Shitte leader is caged, and being treated like a criminal in the hospital, without being allowed any form of freedom whatsoever.
“Since he arrived at the hospital, they have caged him like a criminal. Security was heightened”, he alleges.
He lays the blame for the situation, without any proof, on the door-steps of “America, India and Isreali governments”, pledging to provide the proof later.
On the next step that could be taken, he said, they were considering bringing the couple back to Nigeria.
His words:”We are already holding discussions about the plan. We may bring him back to Nigeria if the condition in the hospital does not improve.”
Just before the trip to India, 184 Muslim medical doctors had written to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to allow the Cleric and his wife travel for a specialized medical treatment abroad. On Monday, a group of Shitte Muslims in India wrote a letter to the management of the Mendenta Hospital, offering to offset the medical bills of the couple.
A source, that should know, told this magazine that given the interest the El-Zakzaky case has generated, the heightened security around him was not out of place. Nobody wants to hear any “long story” surrounding him in India, the source said. The Iranian government is watching, and is at an alert, he added.
When the couple was arrested and detained, the Iranian government had protested the arrest and detention to the Nigerian government.
El-Zakzaky and his wife are undergoing trial for a number of criminal allegations, including murder.
One of the conditions attached to the couple’s trip is that DSS personnel must follow on the trip.
On Monday, the couple travelled out with about four security personnel, a police doctor, and a few family members.
Their trial and, perhaps, detention, will resume as soon as they come back to Nigeria.
El-Zakzaky and his wife ran into trouble with the law, in 2015, when IMN members blocked the road in Zaria, denied the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, passage, and thus, clashed with the Army. Over 300 members of the sect, including his two sons, were killed.
He and his wife got away, allegedly, with multiple gun shots, and have been in detention since then.
Their health deteriorated very badly, while in detention and, both have, allegedly, been reduced to wheelchairs. The Sheik has gone blind on one eye, with the possibility of the other eye going blind too.