Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (MIN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has raised an alarm over his condition and that of his wife, Zeenat, at the Indian hospital where they arrived Tuesday evening for medical treatment. He alleged that their condition is worse than that of Nigeria.
According to Ibrahim Musa, the spokesperson of the IMN, who confirmed on Wednesday, said the group had received an audio message from El-Zakzaky where he narrated the “terrible condition” they had been subjected to in India.
See full transcript:
“We are now here in New Delhi, India. As you all know there was an arrangement for us to come here to seek medical care regarding the ailments that we have, myself and Malama Zeenah.
“She, Malama Zeenah has a full bullet lodged in her body(that needs to be removed), also she is in need of a knee replacement surgery in addition to other problems. As for me, there are shrapnel, very small fragments in my eyes, in my hands and some in my right thigh that were slowly releasing toxins into my system which caused a lot of complications, which we later discovered that they were the caused of the mini-strokes I have had, both the first and the second time. So we were thinking the first thing to be done is to remove the shrapnel, which is a procedure that couldn’t be done at home and the doctors suggested that we should go abroad where it will be possible for the procedure to be done.
“Then the second thing would be to clean my body of the toxins, which I was told are deposited in the bones and some in the flesh and this normally takes time to be done.
“I also have a problem with my eye which the doctors that attended to us since after I had a second operation and my sight weakened, suggested that I should be taken to better facilities to have it tended to.
“After all this, we were all happy that we are in Delhi and we would be going to a suitable hospital to receive appropriate treatment. In addition, the doctors that came to visit us when we were in Nigeria advised us to come to this hospital called Medanta. That is why we requested to be brought to this hospital.
“So before we left Nigeria we heard the news that the American embassy here in India was pressuring the hospital not to admit us when we arrive. And that the hospital had agreed to refuse admitting us. So we were considering going somewhere else when we arrive. But we were later informed that the problem had been sorted out and we would be admitted to the hospital. So we set out from Nigeria.
“As soon as we arrived here, we were met with some hospital staff at the airport that escorted us to the hospital.
“Since we were in the ambulance they informed that there were a lot of people at the airport waiting to see us even if just when we are boarding the ambulance. But they have evaded them and distracted them by placing two ambulances at that exit claiming we will be boarding those but they decided to bring a different ambulance and leave through a different route so the people at the airport didn’t even get a glimpse.
“And they also said that there was a lot of people at the hospital entrance to see us arrive. But they informed us that if we arrive we will be taken in through a back entrance. They said they did this due to the high number of people, they were concerned that in people’s attempt to reach us in the crowd some harm can be done to us, that’s what they said.
“After we arrived we realized that in this hospital, or better yet someone working in the Nigerian embassy here told us that before we came, they had carried out a meeting with the hospital staff, the workers from the Nigerian embassy and some security operatives on how to go about things once we are here.
“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. And we also noticed we were brought into another detention that we only came based on trust.
“Even in Nigeria, they agreed where we were detained that we would be treated only by the doctors we choose and are comfortable with allowing to treat us. But here we understand that the doctors that advised us to come here are blocked from having any say in our case. They even told us when we spoke to them, they are only allowed to advise but the hospital reserves the right to decide the course of our treatment.
“So I told them that, we came here based on the trust we have in our doctors, we cannot just see any doctor that we don’t know, or trust to treat us.
“And without recommendation from those we do trust, we cannot allow a stranger to treat us, lest not what couldn’t be done with bullets be carried out in a different way.
“Due to this, we think that based on everything we have seen so far indicates to us that we are not safe here. We were just brought to another detention.
“I have been detained now for a collective total of about 13 years but I have never seen detention like the one I am in now.
“Even at the door, they have placed armed police. Even between one room to the next we are not allowed to move. Then I see that even where we were, and of all the times I have been imprisoned in Nigeria, I have not seen anything like this. When I was in an actual prison They used to lock us up around 9:00 pm and open the doors at 7:00 am, and we could move about where ever we wish within the prison facility we were detained in.
“I see here that even when I was in Kiri Kiri prison it wasn’t as constricting as in this situation. So I feel that it is not reasonable to leave detention in order to seek medical help and we be placed in a different detention and on top of that, we be handed over to be treated by people we do not trust.
“So, based on this we are thinking that Insha Allah by all apparent indications that there is a need for us to return home since we were allowed to travel abroad for medical care and India doesn’t appear to be a safe place for us. We would have to return home, afterall, there are other countries that offered to receive us if we could go there.
“These countries include Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey, we can convene to decide which one to go to and then go there Insha Allahul Adheem.
In a swift reaction, the federal government had said that the IMN leader has an ulterior motive.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Culture Dcns. Grace Isu Gekpe, El-Zakzaky had been exhibiting a character which had slowed down his medical attention.
The statement reads: “The Court on 5th August 2019 granted Sheikh Ibraheem EL-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment. Consequently, the Government and its relevant agencies took steps to comply with the Order.
“In line with the Court Order, El-Zakzaky was approved to embark on the trip with State officials and his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal Doctors was not opposed by the government.
“On 12th August 2019, he and other members of the entourage went to India via Dubai. It is to be noted that El-Zakzaky particularly chose Medanta Hospital, India. However, on reaching Dubai, El-Zakzaky began to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures”.
The statement further noted “he requested that his passport be handed over to him but the State officials would not budge to his pressure. The situation became worse in India as he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
“In addition, he demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds as well as requested to be allowed to check into a 5-Star Hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital. The request was refused on the ground that he came into the country for medicals and not as a tourist (more so that his Visa was 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. This created a stalemate, which the Hospital insisted that he would not dictate to it on the choice of medical personnel to carry the required medical treatment”.
The government, however, said “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 to use their country to internationalize his group’s activities.
“Against this background, the Nigerian government wishes to commend the stand of the Indian Government as well as apologize to her for the unruly behaviour of El-Zakzaky. Similarly, the attention of the public and indeed the international community is hereby drawn to these unfortunate developments.
“The government also wishes to use this opportunity to affirm its readiness to undertake the prosecution of El-Zakzaky through the due process if and when he is returned to the country. On this note, his foul cry that he is being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded”.