Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria [IMN], has said that he had greater freedom while in custody in Nigeria than in Medenta Hospital, New Delhi, India, where he went for treatment last Monday.
He explained that he was detained at a well-furnished house located beside the Senate President’s residence, adding that he was also free to move around.
The cleric in a video alleged that the Federal Government made it difficult for him to get the needed treatment at the hospital, noting that he was treated like a prisoner in the Asian country.
In the video, the Shi’ite leader could be seen narrating his experience to an unidentified Indian official.
He said he enjoyed some level of freedom in Nigeria unlike in India where he was in ”prison”.
“I have been about four years in prison now; a house fully furnished. In fact, our next neighbour was the Senate President; a large house. I was free to move about.
“Similarly, when they moved me to Kaduna I was in the best area – government reserved area. It is a house fully furnished with large bedrooms and I was free. I have never been in detention with police there; in fact, the soldiers used to stay outside at the gate. That is what they have been doing. When we came here, we were put in prison.”
The cleric added,
“I will definitely prefer another hospital. I was told that some Shi’ite Ulama came and said I should be allowed to be treated in India.”
El-Zakyzaky further told his guest he made the Indian trip at his own expense but wondered why the Nigerian government was frustrating his mission.
”They said I am the one to take myself to the hospital, not the government. We bought our own tickets, the government people with us bought their own,” the healthy-looking Islamic cleric said.
“Somehow, when we came here, we learnt the embassy changed the story. We learnt the Nigerian government told them they are bringing in two patients charged with a criminal offence, and they also solicited the support of the Indian government for the security of these people; they also spoke with the hospital about what to do. And they claim they are the ones bringing us,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has said it will explore foreign medical treatment for its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, despite the failed plan to treat him at the Medenta Hospital in India.
The sect explained that it would approach Malaysia, Indonesia or Turkey for the treatment of the cleric, who was taken to a facility in Kaduna by the Department of State Services shortly after his arrival from India on Friday.
The President, Media Forum of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, informed our correspondent in Abuja on Saturday, that the IMN would not give up on its determination to ensure that El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, had access to good medical care.
“After his arrival from India, Sheikh was taken to Kaduna where family members usually have access to him. Our plan is to go to the court and also at the same time negotiate the next country for treatment. The plan still remains to take him to Malaysia, Indonesia or Turkey, either of the three.”
Asked about the allegations by the Federal Government that the Shi’ite leader wanted to seek political asylum in India, Musa declined to comment, saying the issue was being discussed, adding that he would issue a statement on the claim.
Musa had earlier blamed the FG for the failure of the cleric to undergo treatment in India.