The Nigerian government on Friday said that acts of misconduct allegedly exhibited by the leader of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-zakzaky, in India necessitated his “repatriation.”
Concise News reports that El-zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, returned to Nigeria on Friday after their failed medical trip to India.
According to them, the Nigerian government frustrated efforts to get their preferred doctors attend to them.
But the government has denied the claim.
“First of all, it was El-Zakzaky himself that chose the Medanta Hospital in India for his treatment; the Federal Government gave him the option to chose any hospital in the world and he chose Medanta,” Grace Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said in a statement.
“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, El-Zakzaky, while in India, initiated contacts with a team of lawyers, led by Ali Zia, Kabir Chaudary and Gunjan Singh. His aim was to seek asylum in that country.
“He also contacted some Non-Governmental Organisations such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission and other Shiite groups in pursuant of the goal.
“It is important to note that if an Indian court had granted El-Zakzaky asylum, it would have violated the Nigerian court order that granted him permission to travel for medical treatment.”
She said that El-Zakzaky used the opportunity of being in India to attempt to internationalise his cause by mobilising the right groups.
Gekpe also said that the wife of the Islamic cleric went further to antagonise the Indian and Nigerian security agents and accused them of killing her children.
“These acts were aimed at winning international sympathy as well as disparaging the Nigerian Government,” she said.
“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.”
Before the India trip
The IMN leader and his wife got the approval to travel on the back of an application by El-Zakzaky’s counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), asking for them to be allowed to travel for treatment as a result of their deteriorating health condition.
They had been with the Department of State Services (DSS) since their arrest in December 2015.
El-Zakzaky and members of his group were arrested following a clash between his followers and soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army State, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria.
The soldiers, Concise News recalls, accused members of the group of blocking a major road being used by the army chief.
A Federal High Court had in 2016 ordered their unconditional release but the government refused to obey the order.
This infuriated members of the group as they, at several times, clashed with security operatives, majorly the police, in mostly Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, over the continuous detention of their leader.