The Federal Government has accused the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, of unruly behaviour in India.
The government made the allegation in a statement on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Gekpe.
This followed claims by members of the IMN that their leader was being treated like a criminal under heavy security surveillance in India.
They also alleged that El-Zakzaky, who was flown to Medenta Hospital in New Delhi alongside his wife, Zenaat, was being caged and not allowed any form of freedom.
But the government described the allegations as “foul cry”, stressing that claims the IMN leader was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.
According to it, El-Zakzaky was allowed to embark on the trip with state officials in line with a court order, while his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal doctors was not opposed.
The government said the IMN leader chose the hospital where he was admitted in India, but he began to display “ulterior motives” against laid down procedures.
It added that El-Zakzaky requested that his passport be handed over to him and declined to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
The government accused the IMN leader of frustrating the Indian authorities which said it would return him to Nigeria with immediate effect.
It, however, commended the stand of the country and apologised to India, noting that El-Zakzaky’s prosecution would continue when he returns to the country.
Read the full statement below:
THE TRUE STORY ON EL-ZAKZAKY IN INDIA
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.
Dcns. Grace Isu Gekpe Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja 14th August 2019