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Proscribed Shi’ite group to resume protests until El-Zakzakys get treatment, freedom

SHORTLY after Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife returned to Nigeria and was whisked away by the security operatives, members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), on Friday vowed to resume protests despite the group proscription by the Federal Government.

Ibrahim Musa, spokesperson of the Islamic sect said strict adherence to the court orders which granted the cleric’s request to seek proper medical treatment and previous order for his release would only restore orderliness and peace to the lingering crisis.

The Kaduna High Court on 5th August granted El-Zakzaky and wife temporal release to seek treatment abroad.

“The Islamic Movement will, however, continue its struggle to ensure that our leader gets the appropriate medical treatment he deserves as ordered by the Kaduna High court. And as we continue with the struggle,” says Musa.

“We wish to reiterate our call for the federal government to comply with an earlier Abuja high court that has freed him since 2016. We believe obedience to this court order will finally solve the crisis that has been lingering since the Zaria genocide of December 2015.”

The sect further described as ‘glaring’, an alleged motive of the federal government to violate the court order, thus interfering with the medical treatment when the accused cleric was in India. Musa justified his claim arguing that El-Zakzaky was denied access to the media after his return to Abuja, but immediately driven away to an ‘unknown destination’ by the security agents.

According to him, the federal government did all it could to ensure the accused was denied medical treatment, debunking claims that the cleric rejected medical attention abroad.

His words: “However before we do that, we vehemently condemn the way the security agents whisked him away upon arrival without allowing the multitude of journalists that were waiting for him for hours to have a chat with him. We urge the security agency holding him hostage to declare to the public where they are keeping him in the country.

“It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian authorities had tried all their antics to see that the Sheikh wasn’t given medical leave. Distrustful of the Nigerian government’s offer of a jet to take him to the destination, having survived its attempts to poison and kill him while in detention, our leader Sheikh Zakzaky declined the offer and chose to pay for his trip through the Emirates Airline.”

Narrating ordeal of the cleric while at the Madena Hospital, the spokesperson in a statement explained that rather than get medical treatment, the workers were taking ‘selfie’ with El-zakzaky – an action he described as an invasion of the cleric’s privacy.

Aside from the health personnel denied from accompanying the IMN leader to India, another medical practitioner from the United Kingdom, he said, was barred from accessing the cleric and his wife Zeenat.

He noted that the couple never rested for the trip, despite their health conditions yet, whisked away by the security upon arrival to the country.

“Their ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were scheduled to board the plane to Dubai. After a 2 hours’ drive from Kaduna to NAIA in Abuja, they were not given enough time to rest before boarding the plane. They endured an 8 hours flight to Dubai and another 3 hours flight to New Delhi. Under normal circumstances, as patients suffering life-threatening ailments, they shouldn’t have been subjected to such exhaustion. Nonetheless, our leader and his wife endured the journey hoping that they will get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.

“However, despite their need for rest, they were forcibly wheeled to a hospital on arrival without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria. They were then subjected to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them in Nigeria and when they requested for their presence, it was turned down. Another physician that came from London was also denied access to them despite his familiarity with the Sheikh’s case from Nigeria. It was at this point that Sheikh Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to have him forcibly treated.”

The statement reads in part, “Moreso, the Hospital compromised its independence and medical ethics, treating without obtaining consent of the patients. The health workers were furthermore interested in taking selfie with the Sheikh and posting on social media, thereby violating their privacies.

“When the Sheikh noticed some physical assault in addition to the background circumstances, he lost complete confidence in the hospital and demanded to see his own doctors for a substitute arrangement. It is well within every patient’s right to decide whether or not to be treated and to also decide who attends to his health.

“It is called giving of consent, which every sane autonomous person with capacity is entitled to. Contrary to the Nigerian government’s press statement that misinformed that it was against ‘medical ethics and standard practice’. It is in fact at the very essence of medical ethics, which every elementary medical person knows.”

“It is worth noting that the Kaduna high court allowed the Sheikh to go to India with the government only supervising, instead the federal government presented him to the Indian government as a dangerous suspect with an unknown ailment coming to India and demanded stringent security placed on him. There was even a report that the security agents in India subjected him to physical assault,” it stated.

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