Mr. Femi Falana (SAN),the lawyer to Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, has called the Federal Government to provide an alternative and adequate treatment of the couple in Nigeria and that he would file a fresh application for El-Zakzaky and his wife to be re-flown abroad for treatment if.
The leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky on Friday returned to Nigeria, after refusing treatment in India
Recalled that El-Zakzaky who is facing an 8-count charge in a case of homicide filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on Aug. 5.
Subsequently, El-Zakzaky and his wife travelled to India via Duba, for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by Kaduna State Government.
Falana speaking on the issue yesterday said it is “disturbing that the planned medical treatment of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife in India was aborted and that they have since returned to Nigeria.
‘however, in view of their critical health conditions, the El-Zakzakys and the Federal Government should urgently reach an understanding to facilitate their medical treatment in Nigeria.
‘In other words, since the Federal Government is apparently not prepared to allow the couple to seek medical treatment abroad for fear that they may seek political asylum, the authorities should provide adequate medical equipment for their treatment in Nigeria without any further delay.”
‘unfortunate episode” “had embarrassed the Federal Government and “that Nigeria has become a laughing stock to the extent that her leaders and citizens (who have the financial wherewithal) have to travel abroad for medical treatment”.
‘For goodness sake in what way was the Indian Government offended by the insistence of the El-Zakzakys to be treated by doctors of their choice?”
The United States has also dismissed allegations by the IMN that it connived with the Federal Government to frustrate Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky’s treatment in India, saying : “The Embassy of the United States to Nigeria has no comment on these baseless allegations. We will state that promoting, protecting, and advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to be a top priority for the United States,”
However, the Federal Government in a statement on Wednesday said that the religious leader was frustrating the authorities of the Indian hospital where he was to be treated.
In the statement, “The true story on El-Zakzaky in India”, the government said that the cleric, who particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India for the treatment, had begun to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.
The statement signed by Grace Isu Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said that the cleric refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks after State officials resisted his pressure to hand over his International Passport to him.
“He also demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds, and also requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.
“That request was rejected on the ground that he came into the country for medicals, and not as a tourist, especially with the Visa issued on medical grounds and not for tourism.
“He also demanded that Police protection be withdrawn from him by the Indian authorities.
“Against medical ethics and standard practice, he requested to nominate Doctors of his choice to join the ones tasked by Medanta Hospital to perform medical treatment on him and his wife.
“That demand created a stalemate as the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment.
“Frustrated by his antics, the Indian authorities have expressed willingness to return him to Nigeria with immediate effect. This is on the account that they will not allow him use their country to internationalise his group’s activities.
“The Nigerian government commended the stand of the Indian Government and also apologise to her for the “unruly behaviour” of El-Zakzaky.
The statement affirmed government’s readiness to prosecute El-Zakzaky through due process, if and when he is returned to the country, urging Nigerians to ignore his claims that he was being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria.
In the statement signed by the forum’s President, Malam Ibrahim Musa, in Zaria, Kaduna State, IMN alleged that contrary to the view of the Federal Government that El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, refused treatment, they were “forcibly wheeled to a hospital without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria”.
It further claimed that medics subjected the couple to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them, and that their request to have their doctors were rejected.
The group claimed that another physician that came from London was also denied access to them in spite his being familiar with the sheikh’s case from Nigeria.
“It was at this point that Sheikh El-Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to be treated,” the group claimed.
IMN said that the group would continue the struggle to ensure that its leader got the appropriate medical treatment as ordered by the Kaduna High court.