It was reported a few days ago that the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, was taken to India along with his wife and family for medical treatment. But they returned to Nigeria almost immediately, without receiving the treatment they went for.
The federal government has now explained why the order to let El-Zakzaky travel for medical treatment was revoked. According to the government, the IMN leader was seeking asylum in India, a means to prolong his stay outside the country. He was also said to be unruly and to constitute an embarrassment to Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Grace Isu Gekpe, who made this known in a statement to newsmen on Friday, claimed El-Zakzaky’s actions in India were filled with malicious intents that were capable of embarrassing Nigeria and the Indian government, possibly causing a national rift.
Her statement partly reads:
“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 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,” Gekpe said.
El-Zakzaky’s wife, Zeenat, was said to have reported to the Indian security that the Nigerian security agents had killed her children, an act Mrs. Gekpe claimed were aimed at winning international sympathy as well as disparaging the Nigerian government.