Photo: Dr Afunanya, DSS spokesman
Following a court order asking that the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzakky, be released for medical treatment in India, the Department of State Services (DSS) is already initiating the process of his release.
Its spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said in a statement in Abuja on Monday, “This is to inform the public that the Department of State Services (DSS) has received the order granting Ibrahim EL-ZAKZAKY leave to travel to India for medical treatment. Consequently, the Service is liaising with relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance. Conformity with the order is in line with the Service’s avowed commitment to the Rule of Law inherent in a democracy.”
Recall that earlier in the day, a Kaduna State High Court granted the embattled leader and his wife, Zeenat, leave to seek medical attention abroad.
Justice Darius Khobo ordered that the IMN leader be accompanied abroad by officials of the Kaduna State government.
The presiding judge ruled that El-Zakzaky and his wife should proceed to India for medical treatment.
He, however, did not give any time frame as to how long they will stay in India.
No date has been fixed for the defendants to embark on the medical trip.
Reacting to the ruling, counsel to the Kaduna State government, Dari Bayero, said the prosecution team would go back and study the judgement to see if there were grounds for appeal.
Counsel to the El-Zakzakys, Mr Femi Falena, however, clarified the ruling of the court.
According to him, the judgement is just to grant the IMN leader and his wife leave to seek medical attention abroad and not an outright bail
The trial of El-Zakzaky and his wife is expected to resume as soon as they return from their medical treatment.
Mr Falana, a human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, filed the application on behalf of his clients on July 18.
At an earlier hearing on Monday last week, the senior lawyer told Justice Khobo that his clients were not in court due to their bad health condition.
He said the health condition of his clients was getting worse by the day, adding that only a foreign medical treatment was required to stabilise them to enable them face the main trial.
But Mr Bayero opposed the application, saying El-Zakzaky’s medical condition could be treated in the country.
He informed the court that there was no need to release the Shiites’ leader on bail to travel abroad.
El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing an eight-count of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace.
The charges were filed against them by the Kaduna State Government and the duo were first arraigned in May 2018.
Two days ago, The Nation newspaper reported that the elder brother of El-Zakzaky,, Sheikh Muhammad Sani Yakoob, reacted to the recent proscription of IMN, saying that, it was long overdue.
El-Zakzaky’s elder brother, who is also the Zaria Branch Chairman of Izalatul Bid’ia wa Ikamatus sunna, said that the federal government should not stop at proscribing IMN but go further to disband the Shi’ite sect in its entirety.
He said there is no difference between his younger brother’s IMN, the Shi’ite sect and the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram, adding that both the leader of the deadly Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, and his younger brother, El-Zakzaky, are terrorists.
He said the decision taken by the federal government to proscribe the IMN was not only right but overdue because the government can be overthrown through the violent protests of the group.
Sheikh Yakoob said the IMN leader is responsible for whatever calamity has befallen him, saying that he was warned when he started propagating “his dangerous Shi’ite doctrine.”
He said: “As you may be aware, El-Zakzaky is my blood brother. We were given birth to by the same father. While growing up, before he started this journey into Shi’ism, I didn’t have any close friend apart from him. We did everything together. We studied together in Islamic school.
“We warned him seriously to desist when he started this Shi’ism ideology. I personally warned him several times, and when he refused, I had to abandon him. So, whatever the authorities might have done to him, he caused it for himself.”
Sheikh Yakoob added: “There is nothing good about Shi’ism. These people are supposed to have been proscribed a long time ago, but the government waited until they are now causing havoc.
“In the entire world, where has the Chief of Army Staff ever been blocked on the way and denied right of passage? Since the time Shi’ites people did that to the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, they were supposed to have been stopped. But now, the authorities seem to have understood their mission.
“Anywhere the Shi’ites are, they are always a problem. They are the ones that ruined Iraq. They are the ones that ruined Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. All the crises you see in the Middle-East, Shi’ites are responsible for them.
“You see, with their protests, they çan take over government. The enemies of the country and enemies of the sitting government can take advantage of the Shi’ites protest and overthrow the government.
“I believe the government now understands this secret. What the government has done is very right.”
On Tuesday’s declaration by another Shi’ites group that IMN members are fake Shi’ites, El-Zakzaky’s brother described the declaration as hypocritical, saying that all Shi’ites groups have the same doctrine and ideology.
“They are liars. All Shi’ites are one,” he said.
“What they are doing is hypocrisy. All of them have the same doctrine and ideology. They are only in Shi’ites leadership tussle with Zakzaky. That is why they are denouncing him publicly.
“Therefore, it is not only Zakzaky’s group that is supposed to be proscribed. The government should outlaw the entire Shi’ites sect. This is because both Boko Haram and Shi’ites share the same ideology.
“They can continue to fool other people that they are not armed, but we know they carry arms. Didn’t you see them shown with their arms?
“They lied that they were not the ones that killed the police officer in Abuja. The Deputy Commissioner of Police that was killed in Abuja was not the first police officer to be killed by the Shi’ites.”
When asked about the court order that, said his brother should be released and a house built for him anywhere in northern Nigeria, Sheikh Yakubu said, government should only obey such order if it is also ready to build a house for the leader of the dreaded Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau.
He said: “Nobody should blame the government for holding him despite the Abuja court order. Some would say, ehn, court ordered that Zakzaky should be released and a house built for him. If they want the government to build a house for Zakzaky, then the government should also build a house for Shekau.
“Do Nigerians agree that government should build a house for Shekau? If no, then government should not build a house for Zakzaky, because they are the same. They are all terrorists.”
He noted that since the exit of El-Zakzaky, Zaria, which was his base, has been very peaceful as security agents have been able to tame their “violent activities.”