The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), has refuted the claim made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the Federal Government spends N3.5m monthly to feed Ibrahim El-Zakzaky saying it is a lie.
Spokesman of the sect, Ibrahim Musa, disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday to journalists in Abuja.
El-Zakzaky is IMN’s supreme leader, who has been held in detention since December 2015.
However, Musa described Mohammed’s claim as a smokescreen to draw public attention away from government’s many violation of El-zakzaky’s rights and those of his followers.
He said that El-Zakzaky’s feeding standard had even dropped since he was transferred to Kaduna from Abuja six months ago.
Musa harped on the need for the incarcerated cleric to be released rather than the spending of public funds on his feeding as claimed.
The statement reads: “The Islamic Movement in Nigeria believes that this is part of the grand deception of this administration to present a ‘human face’ after it brutally slaughtered more than one thousand innocent and defenseless civilians in Zaria in December 2015.
“Let us also note that his (El-Zakzaky’s) 3 sons who were also in his residence were among those murdered in cold blood in his presence and buried in mass graves. The atrocity didn’t just stop at that. His residence was completely razed and later flattened.
“This same government had also told the world through the Federal High Court in Abuja that the Sheikh didn’t do anything wrong, but they shot him and the wife and all the atrocities was only to protect him. The Court was not convinced and so ordered that he should be set free. The government reneged.
“Now they lie to the world that they are ‘good’ to him.
“Moreover when some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria met the Sheikh early last month, among the things he complained of is the poor feeding he is facing since transferred to Kaduna six months ago.
“Considering his age and failing health he deserves some special feeding arrangements, but those holding him custody have denied him that.
“This clearly shows that some security officers are looting public funds under the guise of keeping the Sheikh under ‘protective custody’ which a federal high court in Abuja has since declared illegal under the constitution.
“Also the Minister’s claim which he said is ‘off the record’ clearly exposes the corruption in the DSS. This figure could be true in their records, but they actually use that to loot public funds in the name of feeding the Sheikh, while in reality the Sheikh is the one catering for himself and buying all his domestic needs.
“The N115,000 daily feeding claim by the Minister is similar to the case of Nigerian Prisons where the government claimed they spend N14,500:00 daily in feeding every individual prisoner in Nigeria. But a visit to the prison tells you that is all lies. The prisoner is malnourished and sick apart from living in congestion with absolutely zero hygiene.
“We consider the statement of the Minister of information as an insult to the personality of our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. We advise the Minister to desist from involving the Sheikh in his unfortunate lies and for once tell Nigerians the actual truth that the government does not spend such amount on Sheikh Zakzaky.
“We reiterate our call for the government to free Sheikh Zakzaky to enable him seek medical treatment abroad.”