•Couple were at the verge of losing their lives, followers maintain
Leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have travelled to India for medical attention in company of Kaduna State government officials, security personnel and members of the sect.
IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that the couple arrived the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and departed 6.10p.m. via Emirates airline en route Dubai to the Asian nation.
“I will not mention the numbers of our members that accompanied the Sheikh and his wife to India for the medical trip. But, I can tell you that a number of state officials and security men are with them for the journey, “he said.
Asked how long the medical treatment would take, Musa asserted: “ We cannot say for now, all we know is that when the treatment is carried out and Mallam is well, he will return back to the country.”
He commended Nigerians for ensuring that El-Zakzaky and his wife were released to undergo treatment, adding that the pair had suffered serious health challenges in recent times.
The ailing pair are to get medicare from Mandeta Hospital, New Delhi.
The tour followed a recent order by a Kaduna High Court allowing the couple to seek medical help overseas.
They have been in detention since 2015 after a clash between the Shiites and soldiers led to several deaths during a procession in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Lead counsel to El-Zakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), had applied to the court to grant the permission for the accused to travel to India for medical treatment owing to their deteriorating health.
Ruling, Justice Dairus Khobo ordered that the IMN leader and his wife should be allowed to seek treatment abroad but they should be accompanied by officials of the Kaduna State government and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The judge also directed that El-Zakzaky must return immediately after his discharge from hospital to face his homicide charges.
But members of the Islamic sect yesterday insisted that their leader and his spouse were at the verge of losing their lives before departing Nigeria amid tight security.
In a statement by the chairman of Free El-Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdulrahman Abubakar Yola, said due to physical and psychological stress, the Sheikh suffered a series of mild strokes and was at the risk of recurrences.