While the country was thrown into confusion as to the reason the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzakycut short his medical trip to India, the IMN leader has been accused of intention of using Indian visit as platform to internationalise his movement.
Sources revealed that El-Zakzaky allegedly had made plans to use the Indian visit to make contacts with willing partners to internationalise his movement, an action that may turn the group into a more dangerous arm bearing terrorist group.
It was revealed that the IMN leader had requested an accommodation in a five star hotel, sought a meeting with some Non-governmental organisations, among which Islamic Human Rights Commission and other Shiite groups. He was said to have also initiated contacts with a team of lawyers, with a view to seeking asylum, an action that would have derailed the Nigerian Court order that granted him permission to travel for medical treatment.
The actions of the group in the guise of protest for the release of their leader in Abuja that led to the killings of uniform men, civilians and destruction of property running into millions serves a reliable evidence over the plans of the group.
While Nigeria is in a state of unconventional warfare with Boko Haram, Banditry and other security challenges, the federal Government is wary of every group activities that have exhibited militancy in their activities.
El-Zakzaky in a podcast had announced that he was on his way back to Nigeria over irreconcilable issue on the agreement between Nigeria an India.
In a swift reaction, the Federal Government on Friday explained the circumstances that led to the “repatriation” of the leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibrahim El-zakzaky, from India.
Mrs. Grace Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in a statement on Friday, in Abuja, said that “acts of misconduct exhibited by El-Zakzaky in India necessitated his repatriation.”
“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 choose any hospital in the world and he chose Medanta.
“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,” Gekpe said.
According to her, El-Zakzaky took the opportunity of being in India to attempt to internationalise his cause by mobilising the right groups.
She added that the most unfortunate and embarrassing aspect was his quest to be relocated to a five-star hotel to receive visitors instead of being admitted in the hospital as a sick person he claimed to be.
Gekpe explained further that in spite of his misconduct, El-Zakzaky’s spouse 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.
“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,” Gekpe said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Nigerian Government and its relevant agencies took steps to comply with a Kaduna High court order that granted El-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment.
The man, who is facing an 8-count charge bordering on homicide, had been in detention since 2015.
But the government, in a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 14, said that El-Zakzaky, while in India, began to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures by requesting that his International Passport be handed over to him, a request security agents ignored.
The statement said that the situation became worse when the cleric refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
Following the development, a non-partisan, public policy and good governance group in Nigeria has stressed that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) chose the hospital which he hurriedly ditched to return to Nigeria on Friday.
The Initiative to Save Democracy in a recall that the Press Release by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information had clearly revealed that it was the cleric who made the choice, just like he also indicated in his request to the Court.
The group dismissed insinuations that the Federal Government had anything to do with his choice of the hospital.
In a press statement on Friday, President of the group, Peter Oladele said the suit filed by El-Zakzaky’s lawyer which resulted to his release for medical treatment stated the hospital where he will be receiving treatment.
He said the Nigeria Shiite leader and the IMN are only trying to be mischievous by politicising his abrupt return to Nigeria.
“The facts are there and they are clear, Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his lawyers picked the Medanta Hospital so he has no reasons to complain.
He stressed that the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, said the Indian authorities were vexed by the unruly behaviour of El-Zakzaky.
Mr. Oladele said El-Zakzaky refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks after officials resisted pressure to give him his international passport.
For most Nigerians, all they seek is an atmosphere of peace and certainty where they can ply their trade and eke out a decent living without any fear of molestation and intimidation.