The Kaduna State High Court yesterday granted the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, permission to travel to an Indian hospital for medical treatment.
The ruling was not without conditions attached. El-Zakzaky and Zeenat must not go to any other hospital other than the one they specifically requested. Also, the travel of the Shiites’ leader and his wife must be under the strict supervision of the state officials.
The leader of the IMN, whose members are also known as Shiites and his wife were absent from court during the ruling by Justice Darius Khobo yesterday.
Both El-Zakzaky and Zeenat were granted permission to travel for medical treatment following injuries they sustained during the clash of the IMN’s members with the Nigerian Army on December 15, 2015.
During court proceedings, last week, the lead counsel to El-Zakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), had argued that his client had to travel to India to extract pellets lodged in his body since 2015. But the prosecuting counsel, who is also the Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero, opposed the prayer to travel to a foreign country, saying that the medical case could be handled locally.
However, yesterday, the court granted El-Zakzaky and his wife permission to travel to the Indian hospital for their treatment and return to the country after discharge to continue with their trial.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, the prosecution counsel, Bayero said that he and his team would study the court’s decision before taking any further action. “The context of the court ruling is that Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife are granted leave to travel out for urgent medical attention,” he said.
According to Bayero, the court looked into the medical reports filed by the Shiites leader and wife and discovered that the IMN leader was indeed in dire need of medical attention. “This is not a bail, but leave to travel,” he said.
When asked how long it would take, the prosecuting counsel said: “Once he (El-Zakzaky is discharged by the hospital he is referred to. So, as soon as he returns to the country, his trial will resume. The court has ruled and we are bound by the ruling.”