By Emmanuel Elebeke & Luminous Jannamike
Barely four days after they were flown to India for medical treatment on the order of Kaduna State High Court, leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement, IMN, in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, were brought back to Nigeria yesterday. The Ethiopian airplane carrying the couple arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport yesterday at 12:01pm. The couple were however, whisked away immediately from the VIP section of the Abuja airport to an unknown destination by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.
On their arrival at the Indian hospital where treatment was expected to commence, the trip to the Asian country turned controversial with allegations and counter allegations between the Shiite leader and the security operatives who accompanied him and his wife from Nigeria. When they returned to Nigeria yesterday, they were not allowed to speak with the newsmen who were waiting to have a chat with them.
The government has however explained why the Shiite leader and his wife were suddenly brought back to Nigeria.
The Federal government said that El-Zakzaky and his wife were repatriated to Nigeria from India due to his misconduct and disrespect of international procedures while in Indian hospital.
A statement issued on Friday, signed by Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe said apart from demonstrating lack of decorum in India, El-Zakzaky’s actions demonstrated malicious intents that were capable of embarrassing the Governments of Nigeria and India.
Gekpe said the IMN leader while in India initiated contacts with a team of lawyers led by Ali Zia Kabir Chaudary and Gunjan Singh in that country and went further to contact some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and other Shiite groups with the aim of seeking asylum and eventually relocate to another country.
According to the statement, ‘‘The Federal Government wishes to inform the public about the latest development in the Ibraheem El-zakzaky medical trip controversies to India. The Government notes with dismay the acts of misconduct exhibited by El-zakzaky that necessitated his repatriation.
‘‘The earlier statement of 14th August 2019 by the Government addressed the issues that would have raised some questions with the latest occurrences and particularly the uncelebrated return of El-zakzaky from India.
‘‘The public may note that El-Zakzaky’s actions in India demonstrated malicious intents that were capable of embarrassing the Governments of Nigeria and India.
‘‘With total disrespect and complete loss of decorum for international procedures while in India, he initiated contacts with a team of lawyers led by Ali Zia Kabir Chaudary and Gunjan Singh in that country.
‘‘He also contacted some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and other Shiite groups. His aim was to seek asylum and eventually relocate to another country.
‘‘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 5-Star hotel to receive visitors instead of being admitted in the hospital as a sick person he claimed to be.
‘‘In spite of his misconduct, El-zakzaky’s spouse went further to antagonize the Indian and Nigerian security agents and accused the latter of killing her children. These acts were aimed at winning international sympathy as well as disparaging the Nigerian Government. Having subordinated the quest for medical treatment to other ulterior motives, it became obvious that El-zakzaky was focused on realising some sinister motives thus the decision to return him to Nigeria.’’
In a swift reaction, the IMN in a statement by the President of its Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, urged the security agency to declare to Nigerians El-Zakzaky’s whereabouts.
The statement reads, “As our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has landed safely at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport today, (yesterday) we wish to set the records straight in order to disabuse the minds of Nigerians from the false claims in some sponsored stories and articles in the media concerning his aborted medical treatment in India.
“However before we do that, 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. We urge the security agency holding him hostage to declare to the public where they are keeping him in the country.
“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 ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were scheduled to board the plane to Dubai. After a two hours’ 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 hours flight to Dubai and another three hours 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 will get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.
“However, 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.
“More so, the Hospital compromised its stance and medical ethics, 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.
“Contrary to the Nigerian government’s press statement, that 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.
“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 the government’s stance insisting on other doctors than the ones that he was to meet in 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 stringent security 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 unknown destination after arrival at Abuja International airport, without allowing him to have audience with the journalists that were waiting for his arrival.
“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 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.”Read Full Story