Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky, has accused the United States of frustrating his treatment in India.
El-Zakzaky, who was flown to Medenta Hospital in New Delhi alongside his wife, Zenaat, on Monday, alleged that the US government put the hospital management under intense pressure not to treat him, adding that he was placed under the watch of Indian security operatives.
El-Zakzaky, in an audio apparently recorded in the Indian hospital, explained that he was not allowed to move from his room to the next, noting that he was also not allowed to see his preferred doctors.
He said, “While in Nigeria, we got information that the United States Embassy had given instructions that we shouldn’t be accepted in this hospital.
“We also heard that they obeyed the order and said they won’t accept us, so we were even thinking of going elsewhere in India but later on, we were informed that the order had been lifted.”
The Shi’ite leader said the hospital staff took him in an ambulance to a security facility where he was allegedly detained.
El-Zakzaky maintained that the doctors who attended to him simply offered medical advice, adding that he informed them that he would not allow untrusted doctors to treat him.
He said, “When we got here (New Delhi), an official of the Nigerian Embassy told us that they already discussed with the staff of this hospital and security operatives on what to do.
“They later took us to an Indian security outfit that is even more sophisticated than the one we were kept in Nigeria.
“We then told them we won’t allow any other doctor aside our trusted doctors to attend to us so that they don’t do to us what they couldn’t do with their bullets in Nigeria.”
He added, “All we have seen here has shown us that there is no trust; they just brought us here for another detention. I have been in and out of detention for about 13 years but I’ve never seen this kind of security that I’m seeing here.
“Even at the door of my hospital room, there are many security personnel waiting, heavily armed. They didn’t even allow me to go to the next room.”
He explained that he might subsequently go for treatment in Malaysia, Indonesia or Turkey.
The US Mission in Abuja did not respond to the allegations. It had yet to respond to an email on the issue as of the time of filing this report.
The Indian High Commission in Nigeria denied detaining El-Zakzaky, stating that there was no ultimatum to the patient.
In a series of tweets from its official Twitter handle @india_nigeria, the High Commission said medical treatment was provided to consenting patients.
The tweets read, “Please be assured that medical treatment at reputed Indian hospitals is provided to consenting patients,. Protocol and safety steps are taken as necessary. There is no condition or ultimatum by India.”
But the Federal Government accused El-Zakzaky of allegedly becoming uncontrollable immediately he stepped outside the shores of the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Gekpe, said this in a statement in Abuja.
She described his claim in the audio message as “a foul cry” that should be disregarded.
The statement read, “On reaching Dubai, El-Zakzaky began to display ulterior motives against laid down procedures.
“He requested that his passport be handed over to him but the state officials would not budge to his pressure. The situation became worse in India as he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
Gekpe further alleges that against medical ethics and standard practice, El-Zakzaky requested to nominate doctors of his choice.
She added, “On this note, his foul cry that he is being held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.”
Meanwhile, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), the lawyer for Elzakzaky, told one of our correspondents that the situation had become normal following intervention by the Nigerian Ambassador to India.
He said, “The reports from the Indian hospital are very disturbing. We have forwarded the complaints of the El-Zakzakys to the Federal Government.
“I have just confirmed that the Nigerian High Commission in India has intervened to ensure that the tight security situation is relaxed to prepare the Ezakzakys for the medical treatment and that they are allowed access to their personal physicians.”