Incarcerated Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, was allowed a brief public appearance yesterday two years after he was thrown into detention with his wife, Zeenah.
According to The Nation newspaper, his appearance at a Safe Facility in Abuja was to assure his followers that he is indeed alive,contrary to rumour of his death last week.
El-Zakzaky,who wore a white flowing gown and had a turban on his head, told reporters that he was ok and had been allowed to see his doctor.
He thanked Nigerians for their prayers for him.
He also thanked the DSS for agreeing to his demand for a change that has enabled his personal doctors to examine him.
He said:”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 doctors .
“So it was my own doctors who examined me.
“Before, I used to be examined by DSS doctors alone, but this time, I did not agree and my own doctors came to examine me .
“I am getting better.Thanks for all your prayers.”
Following is the transcript of the one-minute, 20 second interaction El-Zakzaky had with reporters:
Journalist: Good afternoon, sir?
El-Zakzaky: How are you?
Journalist: Can we have a word with you?
El-Zakzaky: If they (DSS personnel) agree and allow me (He says so jokingly)
Journalist: How are you feeling now?
El-Zakzaky: I feel better.The security (officers) have allowed me to see my doctor, my personal doctor. I thank God. I am improving.
Journalist: Do you have anything to add?
El-Zakzaky: I thank you for all your prayers.
Journalist: Thank you sir.
El-Zakzaky: Thanks (As he walked away).
He was immediately returned to his detention room.
The DSS and his lawyer ,Mr.Femi Falana (SAN) had, on Friday,denied that he was dead.
However,Falana said he was very ill and needed to see his doctor.
The cleric was arrested along with his wife, Zeenah, following a bloody clash between his supporters and the entourage of the Chief of Army Staff,Lt General Tukur Buratai in Zaria in December 2015.
Ibrahim Musa, spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria had claimed, in a statement last week,that “hoodlums have been commissioned by the authorities to foment trouble by burning tyres and properties in the course of our peaceful processions.
“Part of their evil plot involved spreading false news of the alleged death of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky due to illness, on a fake Facebook page.
“They had hoped to achieve their mischievous aims by using that to wreak havoc and attribute same to a supposed reaction of members of the Islamic Movement.”
Last November Falana appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate release of El Zakzaky in compliance with the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja in December 2016 .
He said the court also awarded them N50 million reparation and directed the Federal Government to provide a temporary accommodation for them as it had been established that the Nigerian Army and the Kaduna state· government had burnt and demolished their private residence at Zaria in Kaduna State