The leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has debunked the rumour making the rounds that he died in detention, announcing that he is hale and hearty.
El-Zakzaky, who made his first public appearance at the headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday, after over two years in its detention facilities, said that the service initially denied his personal doctor access to him until he rejected the medication from the service’s doctors.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, he equally thanked Nigerians for sustaining his life with endless prayers, noting: “It was severe on me on Monday but subsequently it started subsiding and for the first time at least the security allowed me to see my own doctor.
“So it was my own doctors who examined me. Before I used to be examined by the security doctors, but this time I did not agree, and my own doctors came to examine me. I am getting better, thanks for all your prayers.”
Explaining the reasons for showing him to the public with his wife, the spokesperson of the service, Nnanna Nnochiri, said that it was basically to dispel his death rumour.
“In the last two days, there was unfounded rumour spreading across Nigeria that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky passed on in the custody of the service,” he noted, adding: “However, as you can see, and from your interview with him, he pointedly told you that he is okay.
“That will settle all the doubting Thomases across the country and those who wanted to capitalise on the said rumour to forment trouble in the country. They can now see that the man is alive, hale and hearty and up and doing.
“You saw him with his wife and the fact was that some people wanted to take advantage of some developments in some parts of the country to make trouble and mobilise the people to engage in untoward activities, which can impact very negatively on the security, stability, and order of the nation.
“The fact is, now that they have seen that the man is alive and that nothing happened to him, we want to believe that such persons who ab-initio have planned to take advantage of such situation should desist from every plan or act they may have put in place.
“For us, Nigeria must remain peaceful, stable and trust in the government and security agencies to provide the enabling environment to allow residents, citizens and everyone as far as you are law abiding to pursue their legitimate businesses.
“The DSS in particular, is calling on everyone and all peace-loving ones to go about their normal businesses and report any negative and suspicious developments in their neighbourhood such that security agencies and DSS would nip the threat in the bud.
“We are at alert and we will continue to execute our mandate and responsibilities according to law. We implore everyone that we need partnership of all to cooperate with us to ensure that there is peace,” he appealed.
Meanwhile one of the counsels to the leader of the sect, Barrister Festus Okoye, has also equally dispelled the death rumour about El-Zakzaky but disclosed that his client might need comprehensive medical attention inside a ‘safe’ custody.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Sun, Okoye said though the IMN leader who is hypertensive due to the loss of his children and his present predicament suffered a mild stroke last week, he however dispelled the rumour about his death.
According to Okoye, “he’s alive. I was told by those that saw him that he had mild stroke last week due to hypertension he developed as a result of the killing of some of his children, his health, his wife’s health and all that. But neurologists and cardiologists were brought in to stabilise him there in DSS detention. That means he needs comprehensive medical attention.
“And his wife still has bullet in her body. It is not also true that he refused to be freed as said in some quarters. How can somebody prefer captivity to freedom. The court made an order that he and his wife be released from detention and compensated, but this has not happened.
“I also need to clarify something here. I think some people are mixing up what is happening to El-Zakzaky and Dasuki together. Their cases are different. Dasuki had been in court before, but this is the first time El-zakzaky would have something to do with the court. And that is why the court said he should be released and compensated and this is yet to be done by the federal government several months after”, Okoye said.