MEMBERS of the Shiite leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s family have revealed that they have to keep paying out sums of money to Department of State Security (DSS) officials to enable them get medical supplies to him in detention.
Since December 2015, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) sect, has been in detention after being arrested following a clash between his supporters and the Nigerian Army. While in detention, however, his health has deteriorated, with the sheikh said to have lost one eye and he is also reported to have suffered several mild strokes, leading to calls for his release.
In August this year, he was allowed to go to India for treatment but returned to Nigeria within a week because of constant disagreements on how he would be treated. In a video, Sheikh El-Zakzaky said he was discussing the options given to him with his wife when security operatives asked him to prepare to leave for Nigeria.
He claimed that he was being held in conditions worse than he detention in Nigeria and insisted that he be treated by his own chosen doctors. With both sides unable to reach an agreement on the matter, Sheikh El-Zakzaky returned to Nigeria. landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja onboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight, after which he was taken back into detention.
Badamasi Ya’akub, Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s younger brother said, however, that his family have been exploited, with millions extorted from them because they want to keep the sheikh alive. He added that before they get medical supplies across to the sheikh, they have to pay some ransom.
This revelation came after the DSS said they decided to keep the sheikh and others who the court had granted bail in their detention facility because the detainees prefer their detention centre to a correctional facility. According to the DSS, the detainees were allowed access to television, newspapers, gymnasium, telephones and medical facilities.
However, Mr Ya’akub said: “Last Friday the 15th of November, another statement was released by a public relations officer of the State Security Service (SSS) in which justifications were offered for the continued illegal detention of what they referred to as notable Nigerians. The names of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Colonel Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore were specifically mentioned.
“The claim is that the SSS runs what can be best described as five star level of accommodations of international standards, for its illegally detained detainees, at the detainee’s explicit request. According to them, these imprisoned individuals have food and water provided by their families and gymnasium facilities to exercise with and keep in shape.”