By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has accused the federal government of allegedly conniving with the Indian government to scuttle the treatment of its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, at the Medanta Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, stated this while confirming the authenticity of an audio recording in which the IMN leader was heard saying that doctors that were supposed to supervise his treatment were changed.
Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat were on Monday flown to India for medical treatment following their deteriorating health condition.
A Kaduna state High Court, had in a ruling granted them leave to travel to India for medical treatment.
The duo have been in detention since December, 2015, following a clash between IMN members and the Nigerian army in Zaria, Kaduna state.
The Kaduna state government is prosecuting them for alleged culpable homicide, disturbance of public peace, among others.
Musa, while confirming the audio which has gone viral, said ”the audio is true and authentic, it is the Sheikh (Zakzaky), that was speaking, I can confirm to you.”
According to the IMN spokesman, “The federal government has connived with the Indian government to scuttle the treatment. They brought a new set of doctors instead of the ones the Sheikh made prior arrangements with.
“So the Sheikh became suspicious and refused and protested. He said he will not allow strange doctors other than the ones he had arranged with to treat him.
“He asked them why they prevented him from seeing the doctors he had earlier made arrangements with? So he said he will not allow them to treat him.”
When asked whether El Zakzaky will return to Nigeria following the disagreement, Musa said: “Most likely, but we are trying to see how we can sort out the problem.”
In the audio recorded in Hausa Language, Zakzaky complained of how his treatment was being frustrated, adding that tight security around him, was worse than when he was in Nigeria.
He said he may have to return to Nigeria to seek for treatments another country if his doctors were not allowed to handle his treatment.
In the audio, Zakzaky said:
“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 when 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 a detention like the one I am in now. Even at the doors 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 9pm and open the doors at 7am, 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 kirikiri 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.”