El-Zakzaky’s submit to treatment in Indian hospital after initial hiccups

After initial hiccups, the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Wednesday started receiving treatment at Medanta Hospital, New Delhi, India, where he was flown to on Monday along with his wife, Zeenah.

Earlier on Thursday, he had in a widely circulated audio message confirmed by the spokesman of IMN, Mr Ibrahim Musa, complained that he had been denied access to his doctors, stating that rather than submitting himself to be treated by a government nominated physicians, he would prefer to return home.

He also complained about the tight security situation in the hospital, contending that the facility was worse than the detention centre he was kept in Nigeria.

But Musa confirmed later yesterday that after El-Zakzaky’s initial protest, he was given access to doctors of his choice and that the cleric had begun some medical procedures to restore him to good health.

He explained that the cleric and his wife’s medical trip was sponsored by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and that the body had intervened in the dispute.

The Commission had in its website Wednesday issued an update confirming that both El-Zakzaky and Zeenah had been given access to their doctors.

“Sheikh El-Zakzaky and Mallimah Zeenah have been given access to their medical team,” it wrote, adding, however, that: “They are still restricted to the hospital premises, but there are negotiations going on to resolve this situation.”

A Kaduna State High Court, in a ruling last week, had granted el-Zakzaky and Zeenah leave to travel to India for the medical treatment.

The two have been in detention since December 2015, following a clash between IMN members and the Nigerian Army in Zaria.

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The Kaduna State Government is prosecuting them for alleged culpable homicide, disturbance of public peace, among others.

But El-Zakzaky had in the audio message said they were in the Indian hospital but would prefer to go to another hospital in Malaysia, Indonesia or Turkey, as the Indian hospital is another detention facility, particularly because they were not given access to their preferred doctors.

He gave insights into their health challenges: “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 cause 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.El-Zakzaky’s submit to treatment in Indian hospital after initial hiccups

“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.”

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The cleric said he was uncomfortable with the tight security around him in the hospital, adding that the situation was more restrictive than Nigeria.

“I have been detained now for a collective total of about 13 years but I have never seen detention like the one I am in now,” he lamented, adding: “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.”

He narrated his situation further: “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 are placed in different detention and on top of that we are handed over to be treated by people we do not trust.”

The Department of State Services (DSS) was yet to react as at the time of filing this report as the service placed on hold, saying it would respond to its enquiries later.