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NIA, DSS reports paved way for El-zakzaky’s medical trip abroad

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Indications emerged, Monday night that National Intelligence Agency, NIA, and Department of State Services, DSS, prevailed on the Federal government to permit leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky to travel abroad for medical treatment in disregard to the fresh stringent conditions demanded to be fulfilled by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

The Kaduna government had set 7 conditions, including asking the ailing Islamic group head to present a First Class emir as surety.

But according to PRNigeria, Buhari gave the clearance for the Shiites leader to proceed to get medical attention as granted by the court after considering an intelligence report on the matter.

It quoted sources as saying the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Department of State Services (DSS) pointedly advised the presidency on the appropriateness of obeying the order.

They also warned that meeting the conditions might take some time and cited the security implication of El-Zakzaky’s continued detention.

Other factors considered were the concerns raised by several foreign countries which had sent appeals to the Nigerian government to properly manage the issue, especially when El-Zakzaky’s health was deteriorating with his followers going on rampage.

Eventually, diplomacy and security advice prevailed as El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, traveled out of Nigeria Monday evening.

They left Abuja to India at about 6:30 pm Nigerian time via Emirates Airline, accompanied by security personnel and close family members.

TIMELY POST recalls that in reaction to the court ruling granting the IMN leader and his wife permission to travel, the El-Rufai government listed the following conditions released by Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan:

“The Kaduna State Government has filed at the Kaduna High Court terms for strict supervision of the medical leave, as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Security agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria shall escort the defendants/applicants and remain with them throughout the duration of their treatment in India and thereafter shall return with them after their discharge from the hospital.
  7. The Nigerian High Commission in India shall undertake prior vetting and grant consent before any visitor has access to the defendants/applicants while in the Republic of India.”

In his response, legal luminary, Femi Falana lambasted the El-Rufai administration.

The lawyer to the IMN leader, in a statement said: “I thought that the Kaduna State government had planned to appeal against the order of the Honourable Darius Khobo granting leave to the El-Zakzakys to travel to India for urgent medical treatment under the supervision of the government.

“I hope that the plan to pursue an appeal in the case has been shelved as the Court of Appeal has ruled that you cannot stay the execution of orders of this nature. That remains the position of the law as espoused in the case of Mowarin v Nigerian Army, which was decided under a military dictatorship in the country.

“The so-called agreement is totally alien to the penal code and the administration of criminal justice law of Kaduna State. Hence, the agreement is not brought under any substantive or adjectival law.

“My colleagues in the Ministry of Justice are not unaware of the position of the law that an agreement cannot vary or modify the order of a competent court. It is unfortunate that some highly placed public officers are so hell bent on abrogating the fundamental rights which have been fought for and won by Nigerians, even under the British colonial regime.

“For instance, the Prison Ordinance was amended in 1917 to allow the family members or friends of prison inmates to remove them from prison and take them out for medical treatment, if the prison facilities could not cater for any terminal illness. That provision has been incorporated in Regulation 12 made pursuant to the Prisons Act.

“In this instant case, the court did not release the El-Zakzakys to their family members but that they should be treated in a foreign hospital under the supervision of the government.

“Since the Department of Service Services (DSS), which has the custody of the El-Zakzakys, has announced on behalf of the Federal Government that the court order would be obeyed, the so-called terms of “agreements” of the Kaduna State government should be ignored because it is the height of provocative contempt.”

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IBB calls for inclusive unity

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Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, IBB, has called for collective effort aimed at uniting all segments of the country.

Speaking on the occasion of his 78th birthday on Saturday in Minna, the former leader said it is when there is unity that the country can move forward, adding that every Nigerians had a role to play in the matter.

“We don’t have any other country except Nigeria. So, we must all work today, young and old to ensure that this country survives.

“The unity of the country is sacrosanct. We must make sure we identify ourselves as Nigerians before talking of tribe, religion and region we come from,” adding that Nigerians must strive to ensure that the nation remained one indivisible entity.

IBB expressed gratitude to God for sparing his life long enough to attain the age of 78.

“I want to thank Almighty Allah for sparing my life to witness this day. Allah has been very kind to me and I remained grateful to Him,” he said.

Our reporter said that the Uphill residence of the former leader was filled with guests among whom included a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Alfa Belgore; lawmakers from the National Assembly, former governors and military administrators, including Col Habibu Shuaibu

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FAAN announces day to close Enugu airport runway

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saturday notified airlines and passengers that the runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu will be closed on August 24, for major repairs.

FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, made this known in a statement issued in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the closure of the airport is coming three months after the immediate past Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the airport would be closed over the state of the runway.

Sirika had said that the airport would be degraded for international operations because the runway length is not ideal for such operations.

Mrs Yakubu explained that the closure was aimed at resolving the existing safety and security concerns to flight operations.

She said the closure of the runway would took effect by 12 a.m. on August 24.

She noted that a date to reopen the runway would be communicated in due course.

Mrs Yakubu said FAAN remained committed to its core values of safety, security and comfort of the airport users in the country.

Meanwhile, the management of Air Peace has commended the Federal Government for the decision to close the Enugu International Airport for proper repair and maintenance of the airport’s runway.

The airline’s Chairman, Allen Onyema, who made the commendation in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos, noted that the runway had been given stakeholders serious safety concerns.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Air Peace is fully and totally in support of this decision. Though the decision will affect the traveling public.

“However, the airline, place the safety of the flying public, our crew and equipment above any commercial benefits.

“The government should go all out to put everything in place, within the period of the closure, that will make the airport rank among the best international airports in the country.

“We plead with the federal government to make the airport a 24-hour flight operations airport by improving the night landing infrastructure,” he said.

(NAN)

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El-Zakzaky: Falana asks FG for new medical plan

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Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the lawyer to Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, has called the Federal Government to provide an alternative and adequate treatment for the couple in Nigeria.

The Senior lawyer also said that he would file a fresh application for El-Zakzaky and his wife to be re-flown abroad for treatment if his demand was not met.

The leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky on Friday returned to Nigeria, after refusing treatment in India.

Recall that El-Zakzaky, who is facing an 8-count charge in a case of homicide filed by the Kaduna State Government, was granted leave for medical treatment by a Kaduna High Court on Aug. 5.

Subsequently, El-Zakzaky and his wife travelled to India via Dubai for medical treatment after the Federal Government and relevant agencies took steps to comply with the order in spite of protestation by Kaduna State Government.

Falana, in a statement yesterday, said: “It is disturbing that the planned medical treatment of Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife in India was aborted and that they have since returned to Nigeria.

“However, in view of their critical health conditions, the El-Zakzakys and the Federal Government should urgently reach an understanding to facilitate their medical treatment in Nigeria.

“In other words, since the Federal Government is apparently not prepared to allow the couple to seek medical treatment abroad for fear that they may seek political asylum, the authorities should provide adequate medical equipment for their treatment in Nigeria without any further delay.

“The unfortunate episode had embarrassed the Federal Government and that Nigeria has become a laughing stock to the extent that her leaders and citizens (who have the financial wherewithal) have to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“For goodness sake in what way was the Indian Government offended by the insistence of the El-Zakzakys to be treated by doctors of their choice”.

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