The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has narrated his ordeal and that of his wife in detention and the refusal of government agencies to release their passports.
In an interview with PUNCH, the Shiite leader accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of not allowing him to seek medical attention abroad even though he had fragments of a bullet scattered all over his body which are poisonous.
He added that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, was not lying when he said millions were budgeted for him and his wife’s welfare while in detention.
The Islamic cleric, however, stated that the money was allegedly diverted by the DSS.
He said, “Actually, we were not given the opportunity to tell the real story while we were in detention because the people who were detaining us made things difficult for us. The real truth is that all through our detention we fed ourselves. Since the time we reached Kaduna, after we were released, nobody gave us a single bottle of water! We were feeding ourselves.
“Even during our stay in Abuja, we were feeding ourselves. But this is something that cannot be disclosed because it was illegal. Legally, they were supposed to feed us.
But they didn’t want anybody to hear that we were feeding ourselves. For the entire five years, seven months that we were in detention, we fed ourselves; nobody gave us a bottle of water!
“We were even paying electricity and water bills while in detention. We were paying also for the fuel to power the generator. We bought our own generator in Abuja, even when we were in detention and we were buying fuel to run it.
“He (Lai Mohammed) was actually not lying. The DSS told him so. But what I learnt was that about N4million was taken out of the FIRS coffers for our feeding every month. But that money was going to their pocket; not a single kobo was given to or spent on us. It is true that they were taking the money out of the treasury but they did not spend it on our feeding. It is a lie that they were feeding us with this money.”
A Kaduna High Court had on July 28, 2021 discharged and acquitted the IMN leader after spending six years in detention.
He was arrested after some of his followers clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State, in 2015.
The Kaduna State Government had charged him with culpable homicide.