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IMN Mounts Defence on El-zakzaky’s Return to Nigeria

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), on Friday confirmed the return of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to Nigeria, but rejected reports that he refused treatment in India.

In a statement by its Media Forum, IMN said that the religious leader arrived in Abuja at noon.

In the statement signed by the forum’s President, Malam Ibrahim Musa, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State, IMN claimed that the leader was not allowed to speak with “the multitude” of newsmen that had waited for hours to speak with him on arrival.

It alleged that contrary to the view of the Federal Government that El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, refused treatment, they were “forcibly wheeled to a hospital without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria”.

It further claimed that medics subjected the couple to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them, and that their request to have their doctors were rejected.

The group claimed that another physician that came from London was also denied access to them in spite his being familiar with the sheikh’s case from Nigeria.

“It was at this point that Sheikh El-Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to be treated,” the group claimed.

IMN said that the group would continue the struggle to ensure that its leader got the appropriate medical treatment as ordered by the Kaduna High court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that El-Zakzaky, who is facing an 8-count charge in a case of homicide filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on Aug. 5.

El-Zakzaky and  his wife, Zeenat, subsequently traveled to India via Duba, for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by the Kaduna State Government.

However, the Federal Government in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the religious leader was frustrating the authorities of the Indian hospital where he was to be treated.

In the statement,  “The true story on El-Zakzaky in India”, the government said that the cleric, who particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India for the treatment, had begun to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.

The statement signed by Grace Isu Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said that the cleric refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks after State officials resisted his pressure to hand over his International Passport to him.

“He also demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds, and also requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.

“That request was rejected on the ground that he came into the country for medicals, and not as a tourist, especially with the Visa 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.

“That demand created a stalemate as the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.”

The statement said that the Indian auth0rities, who were frustrated by his antics, had expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect on the account that they would not allow him to use their country to internationalise his group’s activities.

The Nigerian government commended the stand of the Indian Government and also apologise to her for the “unruly behaviour” of El-Zakzaky.

The statement affirmed government’s readiness to prosecute El-Zakzaky through due process, if and when he is returned to the country, urging Nigerians to ignore his claims that he was being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria.

NAN recalls that the Federal Government recently proscribed the group following incessant protests by its members. (NAN)

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