Abuja – Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the banned Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites, has considered returning back to Nigeria following the refusal of the Nigerian government to allow his personal doctor to treat him in Indian hospital.
Secretary of the Academic Forum of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Abdullahi Musa, confirmed this in a telephone conversation with Daily Independent in Abuja.
He said the Nigerian government denied their leader access to his personal doctor in India, thereby making it difficult for him to get the required treatment.
When asked if it was true that the Sheik was coming back to Nigeria, Musa said, “Yes, he would be coming back”, and explained that it was what they resolved since they refused him further treatment.
He said the flight that would bring El-Zakzaky back to Nigeria would take off by 11:00 Thursday night.
El-Zakzaky had expressed displeasure over the deplorable condition he had been passing through in the hands of the security operatives that escorted him to India.
He insisted that he would not allow strange doctors to carry out treatment on him and accused the Nigerian and Indian governments of frustrating his treatment at the Mendata Hospital.
According to a video transcription of a recorded message from El-Zakzaky, which was sent to Daily Independent, the leader of the Shiites said: “You have already heard the messages regarding the ultimatum we were given of either we agree to be treated here on their terms or return home.
“So, a bit earlier they came here and informed us that they have decided to take us back to Nigeria.
“And now it is almost 10p.m., around 9:30, and they have said they will come at 11:30 to take us to the airport in order to take us back to Abuja. This is what they have decided.
“And they have sent government representatives here to inform us of that; so now, in sha Allah, we will embark on the journey back home. We hope this will be for the best.”
Meanwhile, El-Zakzaky is suffering from lead and cadmium poisoning that may be from shrapnel in his body, his daughter, Suhaila El-Zakzaky, told the BBC.
El-Zakzaky was among hundreds of people arrested in 2015 after soldiers stormed the headquarters of his Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and killed about 348 people.
Suhaila El-Zakzaky, who said his father’s doctors said if the lead and cadmium poisoning get to “a certain level his organs could start failing and that’s really scary because that means he could just die at any moment.”
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in custody ever since awaiting trial and arrived in India on Monday after being granted leave by the Kaduna High Court to seek medical treatment earlier this month.
The sheikh’s daughter said that the poisoning may be as a result of shrapnel in his body “from when he was shot in 2015 when the Nigerian army raided our home”.
She added that her father had had an eye operation in Nigeria to remove shrapnel lodged in one of his eyes but his sight had been declining ever since.
Suhaila told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio she was concerned about his condition: “I am really worried… especially because of the lead and cadmium poisoning. His doctors say if he gets to a certain level his organs could start failing and that’s really scary because that means he could just die at any moment.”
This backs up a medical report received by an Indian Shia group offering to pay the IMN leader’s bills at Medanta Hospital.
It told the BBC on Wednesday that the sheikh had been diagnosed with lead poisoning.
Ms. El-Zakzaky said that she had spoken to her father on Wednesday morning and he was unhappy that armed police were outside his room and that he was not able to be treated by his own chosen doctors.
Meanwhile, The Federal Government has apologised to India for the sheikh’s “unruly behaviour”.
The government said the IMN leader made unreasonable demands, wanting to move into a five-star hotel and demanding the removal of police protection provided by the Indian authorities.