The Kaduna State government has filed fresh suit before the state High Court against the planned trip of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, to India to seek medical attention.
This was disclosed in a statement issued and signed by the state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the government has asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to confirm from Medanta Hospital, India, whether it has given El-Zakzaky and wife appointments to visit the hospital and check all diplomatic arrangements regarding the trip.
The statement also asked each of the defendants to make an undertaking that they will come back to face their trial adding that the defendants shall bear the cost of their travelling, medication and living while in India.
Also, the statement said El-Zakazky and his wife should produce two reliable persons as sureties, one being a first-class Emir/chief or a very prominent person in Kaduna who will be present whenever they are needed in court, adding that the Federal government should obtain a guarantee from the Indian government that they will not entertain anything like political asylum from El-Zakzaky or any third party.
The full statement reads: “Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is facing criminal trial before the Kaduna High Court on charges filed in April 2018. The Kaduna State Government is prosecuting Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky on an eight-count charge, including culpable homicide punishable with death.
“Himself and his wife are the first and second defendants in the State versus Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and Another (charge no. KDH/KAD/60c/2018), and his plea was taken on 2nd August 2018.
“His application for bail was refused on 4th October 2018, and he has since remained in the lawful custody of the state, and not in unlawful detention as being wrongly disseminated.
“On Monday, 5th August 2019, the Kaduna High Court granted an application for medical leave filed by Mr El-Zakzaky and his wife, Mrs Zeenah Ibrahim. The court specifically said it was granting the two defendants ‘leave to travel out of Nigeria for urgent medical treatment at Medanta Hospital, India, under strict supervision of the respondent and to return to Nigeria (for the continuation of trial) as soon as they are discharged from the hospital.”
“The Kaduna State Government respects the right of anyone to seek treatment anywhere in the world, even for malaria or a common cold, so long as they are paying for it.
“But in the case of persons facing trial for serious offences, necessary safeguards are required to ensure that such persons do not become fugitives from justice or frustrate trial by claiming asylum or the status of a political prisoner in the host country.
“In compliance with the court ruling, the Kaduna State Government has filed at the Kaduna High Court terms for strict supervision of the medical leave, as follows:
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall confirm the appointments of the defendants/applicants with the Medanta Hospital, India, and undertake all necessary diplomatic arrangements and protocols to ensure compliance with the conditions of the medical leave.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake to return to Nigeria to continue their trial as soon as they are discharged from the hospital, and shall also be responsible for the cost of their travel, treatment and living expenses while on their medical leave.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one being a first-class chief/emir of national repute and the other a prominent person within Kaduna State who shall undertake to produce the defendants whenever they are needed. The sureties must also produce evidence of landed property within Kaduna State.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria shall obtain from the government of India an irrevocable guarantee that it will not entertain any application by the defendants/applicants or any third party seeking asylum under any guise or conferring the status of political prisoners or any other status aside from being medical patients on the defendants/applicants and shall also restrain the defendants/applicants from any act inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake in writing, endorsed by their Counsel, that while on medical treatment in India, they shall do nothing to jeopardize the ongoing trial, the peace and security of Nigeria and the laws of the Republic of India in whatever form.