By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
Family members of detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, have faulted claims by the State Security Services, SSS, that he (El-Zakzaky) enjoys 5-star treatment under its custody, and chose to remain with the agency rather than go home.
Spokesman of SSS, Peter Afunanya, last week explained that the security agency provided El-Zakzaky and other notable detainees held in its facilities free access to people and the use of devices such as like telephones, gymnasium, TV sets, newspapers and medical supplies for recreation and health.
But dismissing the claims at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Badamasi Ya’akub, El-Zakzaky’s immediate younger brother, who spoke on behalf of the family, said they have been subjected to various forms of extortion and exploitation in order to keep their detained relative alive in SSS custody.
He said, “No phone contact has been had with Sheikh El-Zakzaky since his return from the aborted medical trip in India. He receives no daily newspapers of any kind at any time regularly or irregularly.
“With certainty, I can say that the last time he saw a functional Television screen was in his house in December 2015 before it was attacked and demolished by the 1st division of the Nigerian Army.
“As for the gymnasium and other 5-star level amenities mentioned by the SSS, all if any are paid for by El-Zakzaky himself. “We have been extorted and exploited to keep our brother (El-Zakzaky) and his wife, Zeenah, as safe as much as we can.
“But the straight truth is that they can’t read newspapers, they have no access to TV, it takes mountains of hurdles for us to see them, and we pay a ransom worth of money to just send medical supplies through.
“Every time an arm of the administration claims to have spent a certain amount; it is more than over thrice what we have spent.
“We will be readying some LCD TVs, subscribing to daily newspapers for deliveries to him, providing handsets with multiple SIM slots, and SSS family request service and refund program, so that the millions extorted can be proven to have not been spent in vain.”