The Federal Government on Friday raised the alarm over alleged plans by the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, to seek asylum.
The government specifically said his actions in India demonstrated malicious intents that were capable of embarrassing the governments of Nigeria and India.
A statement issued in Abuja by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, entitled: “The repatriation of Ibraheem El-Zakzaky from India”, said the wife of the IMN leader also antagonised the Indian and Nigerian security agencies and accused them of killing her children to win international sympathy as well as disparage the Nigerian government.
The statement reads: “The Federal Government wishes to inform the public about the latest development in the Ibraheem El-zakzaky medical trip controversies to India. The government notes with dismay the acts of misconduct exhibited by El-Zakzaky that necessitated his repatriation.
“The earlier statement of August 14, 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 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 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 Organisations, such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission 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.
“In spite of his misconduct, El-Zakzaky’s spouse went further to antagonize the Indian and Nigerian security agents and accused the latter 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.”
Also, following the return of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, from a controversial medical trip to India on Friday, security has been beefed up in Abuja to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN.
A detachment of security personnel was sighted patrolling the Nigeria capital city, even as there is a visible presence of Police, Army, Civil Defence Corps personnel as well as those in mufti believed to be men of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Newsmen who were also in Wuse II Abuja on Friday, saw hefty-looking police officers in clusters fully armed for any eventualities around Banex Plaza which is a commercial nerve centre of the capital city.
A Police officer, who spoke with reporters but declined to disclose his name, said, “Banex Plaza has been a flash-point of Shiites protesters”, adding that the IMN has been proscribed and they shouldn’t be any protest in that name.
“We read in the media of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites accusing the government of Nigeria of their leader’s sudden return to Nigeria from India,” he told this newspaper under anonymity.
In a statement made available to a reporter in Abuja by the IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa on Thursday, the group accused the federal government of Nigeria of complicity in the treatment of the controversial Shi’a leader at the India hospital he was granted leave by the court to go for treatment.
Part of the statement read: “The impasse was a sequel to the refusal of the Sheikh to succumb to the imposition of Medical treatment by the Nigerian security forces in collaboration with their Indian colleagues.
“The Nigerian government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court is the direct cause of the impasse.
“The government never wanted the medical leave in the first place and did whatever to stop it by all means possible.
“The Islamic Movement is completely not happy with the latest development, and we strongly believe any peace-loving person in Nigeria feels the same.
“The government left no one in doubt that it never wanted the Sheikh to go for the medical treatment in the first place.
“They opposed the application in court. When the order went against them, they indicated their desire to appeal against it.
“When that wasn’t going to stop the journey, they attempted to prevent it via introduction of stringent conditions that were not put in place by the court.
“Having failed to stop using all these methods, they exploited the clear direction to “supervise” and went ahead to obstruct the medical treatment in New Delhi, India.
“Why would the Sheikh trust a government that killed thousands of his supporters including his sons, shot him and his wife and further exposed them to heavy metal poisoning?
“We pray to almighty Allah to continue to protect him from the enemies of peace, who were behind the Zaria genocide of December, 2015 and the subsequent extreme persecution and torture he is being subjected to.”