Barring the unforeseen, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, were expected back in Nigeria last night.
They left the Madenta Hospital, New Delhi, India, where they were taken to receive treatment after a Kaduna State High Court granted them leave on medical grounds.
But the Shiite leader rejected the doctors assigned to treat him at the Medanta hospital in New Delhi.
The leader of the IMN, his wife and his entourage departed New Delhi in a commercial airline at 5pm (Nigerian time) yesterday, the IMN said in a statement last night.
In a video message sent through his office, the Sheikh said it was decided that they should return to Nigeria.
A top member of the Islamic Human Right Commission (IHRC) which negotiated the medical treatment in India, said the Federal Government’s interference is the direct cause of the impasse that led to the IMN’s leader and wife’s return to Nigeria.
The statement by the President of IMN Media Forum, Ibrahim Musa, said: “Following lack of breakthrough in the impasse that ensued in the treatment in New Delhi of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, it is now confirmed that the Sheikh is on his way back to Abuja, Nigeria.
“In a video message sent through his office, the Sheikh said it was decided that they will be taken to the airport to be flown back to Nigeria. He has left Delhi by 17:00 Nigerian time.
“He prayed that may that be the best option in the circumstances. The Nigerian government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court is the direct cause of the impasse. The government never wanted the medical leave in the first place, and did whatever to stop it by all means possible.”
A top member of the IMN, Yahaya Muhammad Soje, told our correspondent that El-Zakzaky and his wife had expressed dissatisfaction over the treatment provided by the doctors and also with the alleged threats by security operatives.
He added that: “The security officials refused to allow the doctors he requested to treat him and his wife. As I am speaking with you now they are preparing to return to Nigeria this night.”
El-Zakzaky arrived in India on Tuesday with their relatives, security operatives and government officials.
After medical examination, doctors diagnosed that El-Zakzaky is suffering about eight ailments, including glaucoma, symptoms of Ischemic heart disease, which could lead to Myocardial infraction, severe cervical spondylosis which has resulted to nerve root compression and causing insomnia, among others.
He also has pellets lodged in his body since the 2015 clash with soldiers in Zaria. These pellets are said to be causing lead poisoning in his blood.
The Federal Government on Wednesday disagreed with the IMN claim that its leader was being treated like a criminal in India.
In a statement, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Grace Isu Gekpe, said El-Zakzaky started to act against laid down procedures during a stopover in Dubai, en route New Delhi.
She said the IMN leader demanded free movement and access to visitors of all kinds on arrival at the hospital.
The permanent secretary also alleged that El-Zakzaky requested to be allowed to check into a five-star hotel instead of being admitted in the hospital.