ISLAMIC Movement of Nigeria (IMN) leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat have arrived in the Indian city of New Delhi where he has been received by doctors who will treat them.
Sheikh El-Zakzaky, who was taken into detention in Nigeria in December 2015, recently won a court ruling in which he was allowed to go to India for medical treatment. Following his incarceration, he has suffered several mild strokes and is reported to have lost sight in one of his eyes.
Yesterday, the sheikh and his wife departed from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, alongside some family members and security operatives. Upon their arrival in India this morning, they were received by a medical team who conveyed Sheikh El-Zakzaky in a wheelchair to the hospital.
Arriving on an Emirates flight which made a brief stopover in Dubai. Sheikh El-Zakzaky had refused the offer of being to flown to India by the Nigerian government. Embarrassed by the international attention the matter has attracted the Nigerian government said it would abide by the court ruling and even offered Sheikh El-Zakzaky a private jet to take him to India.
An IMN spokesman said: ” They told the government officials that they requested the court to permit them to travel to India to treat themselves at their personal cost, which they said included the cost of the flight. The couple, in turning down the offer, said it would be a departure from the court’s ruling if they accepted to travel on a government’s sponsored trip.”
Prior to Sheikh El-Zakzaky’s departure, the Kaduna State government had tried to water down the court ruling by demanding pledges from the Indian government that it would not entertain any appeal for political asylum from the Shiite leader. It also came up with several other Draconian conditions, including that the Nigerian high commission in India should vet all the sheikhs visitors.
However, it appears that the federal government has ignored all these impossible demands and released the sheikh for treatment. Apart from the fact that they are tantamount to contempt of court, they are also a breach of international law and the fundamental human rights of Sheikh El-Zakzaky.