El-Zakzaky lands back in Nigeria after a failed trip to India
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zinat, have returned to Nigeria only few days after leaving to India for medical treatment.
The duo left for India on Monday, August 12 after the Kaduna High Court granted them medical leave to attend to their failing health and arrived at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja around 12 pm on Friday, August 16, 2019.
The two had been arrested in Kaduna in December 2015 after soldiers killed over 300 members of the IMN when the sect clashed with the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai.
Corporal Yakubu Dankaduna, a soldier, was allegedly killed by IMN members when he alighted from Buratai’s convoy to disperse the group’s procession during the confrontation.
The government ignored a December 2016 ruling of a Federal High Court to release them.
In May 2018, El-Zakzaky and Zinat were eventually arraigned before the Kaduna High Court and charged with unlawful gathering, criminal conspiracy, and culpable homicide, and denied bail by the court months later in November.
In the August 5 ruling that finally permitted the couple to travel after filing a fresh bail application, Justice Darius Khobo said the defendants should be accompanied by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), as well as other officials of the Kaduna State government.
The defendants were also ordered to remain at the approved Medanta Hospital in New Delhi, India until they made a complete recovery after which they’d return to Nigeria for the continuation of the trial.
However, the trip was dogged by controversy as El-Zakzaky and the Federal Government traded accusations over his treatment at the hospital.
El-Zakzaky said he was being held in worse conditions than when he was in Nigeria and accused the government of frustrating his treatment efforts by denying him access to the doctors he made prior arrangements with.
“So we saw that we were practically brought to another detention facility which is even stricter than the one we were in back in Nigeria.
“They came here with police armed with guns and a lot of staff from the Nigerian embassy,” he complained in an audio message.
He said he would return to Nigeria to consider offers for medical treatment from other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey.
On the other hand, the Federal Government accused El-Zakzaky of displaying ulterior motives against laid down procedures.
The Ministry of Information and Culture said he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks and demanded to be lodged into a hotel and allowed free access to visitors.
The government praised the Indian government’s resolve and affirmed its readiness to undertake the prosecution of El-Zakzaky through due process.
While El-Zakzaky and his wife were on their way back to the country, IMN spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa, accused the Federal Government of interference that damaged the whole process and forced the couple’s return.
It’s unclear what the next line of action will be for the couple.