Kaduna—The detained leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, were yesterday flown out to India where they are expected to undergo treatment.
They had earlier been flown to Abuja, in company of heavily armed operatives of Department of State Service, DSS, who escorted them to the capital city.
A Kaduna High Court had last week ruled that the IMN leader and his wife be allowed to seek medical treatment in India.
The trip came on a day about 186 doctors from Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari pointing on Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s physical conditions, asking the Federal Government to transfer him to a well-equipped hospital as soon as possible.
Multiple security sources in Abuja and Kaduna told Vanguard that the detained leader of IMN was released for the journey on “presidential directive,” based on his fast deteriorating health.
Though they arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in the morning, they were eventually flown out of the country in a chartered jet said to have been provided by the Iranian government at about 6pm.
“I can confirm that he (El-Zakzaky) is on his way to India today in a chartered aircraft,” one of the associates, who is a member of his medical team, said yesterday.
The compliance with the court order allowing the Muslim cleric to travel to India for medical attention was in total disregard to the extra-judiciary conditions set by Kaduna State government after the court order.
Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, had given seven conditions to be met by El-Zakzaky before he would be allowed to travel to India.
Some of the conditions include a confirmation of his appointment with the Indian hospital; a guarantee that he will come back to Nigeria after the treatment and an assurance from the Indian government that it will not grant him asylum.
Those accompanying El-Zakzaky
One of the sources told Vanguard that the IMN leader and his wife were accompanied on the trip by three officials of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA, as well as other unspecified number of security operatives, including two DSS officers, one police doctor and one military officer.
The source added that also on the trip were a chaperone for El-Zakzaky’s wife and another man, said to be El-Zakzaky’s help, Mohammed El-Zakzaky, Zainab El-zakzaky, and Dr Ramatu Abubakar (family doctor),
Another source familiar with the movement told Vanguard that the IMN leader might not have met all the requirements set by the Kaduna High Court, which granted him leave to seek medical attention abroad but for Federal Government which was “keen on letting him go for the sake of peace.”
Efforts to reach El-Zakzaky’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, for his reaction on his client’s trip to India last night proved abortive as calls pulled through to his mobile line were not returned.
He also failed to reply the text message sent to his known mobile numbers.
Meanwhile, about 186 doctors from Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq had written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s physical conditions, asking him to transfer the cleric to a well-equipped hospital as soon as possible.
Fars News, an Iranian news agency, which published the letter, did not, however, indicate what date the letter was written by the doctors or whether it was written after a Kaduna High Court last week approved a leave for El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, to seek medicare in India.
The agency quoted one of the signatories to the letter, Dr. Pourrahim Najafabadi, as saying that Zakzaky needed to be cured by an experienced medical team of physicians in a specialised multi-specialist hospital outside Nigeria.
In its reaction, the IMN said in a statement signed Abdurrahman Abubakar Yola, Chairman, Free Zakzaky Campaign Committee, last night: ‘’The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife have at last left Nigeria for India, alongside some family members and security operatives.
“This followed the granting of the couple’s application for leave to seek medical attention in New Delhi, India, last week by Justice Darius Khobo of Kaduna State High Court.
“In spite of the attempted efforts at frustrating this emergency medical journey by the Kaduna State government, which tried to unilaterally put conditions to the journey even though it lacked such powers, the journey has gone on without much hitches.
“This emergency medical journey is consequent on the facts that both the Sheikh and his wife are known to be clearly very ill in detention, sequel to the brutal wounds unjustifiably inflicted on them by the state agents in the name of Nigerian army, the resultant prolonged dehumanizing detention in the custody of the Department of State Security, DSS, and the obvious poisoning of the Sheikh.”