The Federal Government has accused leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, of “becoming uncontrollable” in India.
The Shi’ites leader is currently in India for medical treatment, based on a court order.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Gekpe, alleged this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
Gekpe was reacting to an audio message in which El-Zakzaky openly complained about the increased security presence around him in the Indian hospital.
She described his claim as “a foul cry” that should be disregarded.
She said the Islamic cleric started displaying “ulterior motives against laid down procedures” when he and his wife had a stopover in Dubai.
She said the situation continued in India where El-Zakzaky initially insisted that he should be checked into a hotel instead of a hospital and also asked for unfettered access to visitors.
According to Gekpe, the situation got to a stage that the Indian authorities expressed their readiness to return him to Nigeria.
The statement read, “The Court on August 5, 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 August 12, 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 five-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 He also demanded that police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.”
Gekpe further alleged that, “against medical ethics and standard practice, El-Zakzaky 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, she added, created a stalemate, and the hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry out the required medical treatment.
She added, “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 internationalise his group’s activities.
“Against this background, the Nigerian government wishes to commend the stand of the Indian Government as well as apologise 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.”
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