Facts emerged on Monday why President Muhammadu Buhari ignored and jettisoned attempts by Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led Kaduna State government to impose stringent conditions on the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-zakzaky and his wife, Hajiya Zeenat, before they could travel for treatment abroad.
President Buhari, it was gathered agreed with and accepted wise counsel from security agencies that urged him to ignore anything outside the Kaduna State High Court’s ruling with respect to the case of Sheik El-Zakzaky, his wife, Zeenat.
Accordingly, based on presidential approval, Sheik El-Zakzaky, his wife and some security personnel flew out of the country on Monday evening to India from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja with Emirate airline.
Information pieced together indicate that President Buhari was advised against considering the Kaduna state government conditions which could further generate tension in the country, but should rather respect the order of the court, particularly against the backdrop of an earlier promise by the presidency that it would allow the court to decide the El-Zakzaky’s case.
The president was therefore advised that since the court had ruled and granted El-Zakzaky and his wife leave to go for medical treatment abroad, they should be allowed to proceed to India for medical attention.
It was further gathered that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Department of State Security Service (DSS), that were working behind the scene to resolve the impasse occasioned by the detention of Sheik El-Zakzaky and his wife, advised the presidency on the need to obey court orders.
The security agencies also advised that since some foreign interests, particularly the Iranian government, have sought a diplomatic approach in managing the issue, it was appropriate to comply with the court order.
Commenting on the Kaduna State government’s position on the Court’s ruling before its execution, legal counsel to El-Zakzaky, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), said the Federal Government acted wisely by disregarding the so-called stringent conditions the State government wanted El-Zakzaky to comply with before he could travel for medical trip abroad.
Falana described the conditions as totally alien to the penal code and the administration of criminal justice law because the agreement is not brought under any substantive or adjectival law, stressing that an agreement cannot vary or modify the order of a competent court.
He said since the DSS, in whose custody El-Zakzaky was, announced on behalf of the Federal Government that the court order would be obeyed, the so-called terms of “agreements” of Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led Kaduna State government should be consigned to the dustbin of history and ignored owing to its height of provocative contempt.
After the court ruling granting El-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment, the Kaduna government gave fresh conditions that include the confirmation of his appointment with the hospital by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; an undertaking by the defendants to produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one of which must be 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.