Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), is on his way back to the country three days after embarking on a medical trip to India.
In a statement, Ibrahim Musa, spokesman of the movement, accused the federal government of frustrating the treatment of the IMN leader. A source, who is close to the cleric, had earlier hinted TheCable that El-Zakzaky was on his way to the country.
“Following lack of a breakthrough in the impasse that ensued in the treatment in New Delhi of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, it is now confirmed that the Sheikh is on his way back to Abuja,” the statement read.
“In a video message sent through his office, the Sheikh said it was decided that they will be taken to the airport to be flown back to Nigeria. He has left Delhi by 17:00 Nigerian time. He prayed that may that be the best option in the circumstances.
“The Nigerian government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court is the direct cause of the impasse. The government never wanted the medical leave in the first place, and did whatever to stop it by all means possible.”
The IMN leader had earlier raised the alarm over the situation in India, saying it was worse than what he and his wife experienced in Nigeria. In an audio tape that went viral on Wednesday, he had said he was being re-detained under heavy security, expressing the desire to return home. El-Zakzaky said he was not given access to his preferred doctors, adding that he did not trust those they asked to examine him. But the federal government had dismissed his claim, accusing him of not complying with the terms of the Kaduna high court which granted him medical leave.
In a statement, Grace Gekpe, permanent secretary, ministry of information, said the IMN leader demanded to have his passport and sought free movement. She added that he wanted to receive visitors and also made a request to be checked into a 5-star hotel. She said he had behaved so badly that the Indian authorities were willing to return him to Nigeria.
Suhaila, a daughter of El-Zakzaky, had earlier told BBC that her father is suffering from lead poisoning which could result to his death. She had said the cleric, who has been in detention since 2015 when some of his followers clashed with soldiers, deserves to get proper medical attention.