Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna state has stated that a monthly amount of N3.5 million was not entirely spent on feeding the detained leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky as claimed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
The Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, was recorded in a video that went viral, claiming that the government spends N3.5m monthly on El-Zakzaky’s feeding.
However, speaking while hosting the management of media outfit in Kaduna, El-Rufai explained how the Nigerian government spends about N3.5 million on a monthly basis to cater for El-Zakzaky since December 2015.
He explained that the Information minister’s claim was right but lacked details on how the money was being spent.
According to him, the N3.5 million was not spent on the feeding of the Shi’ite leader alone but on everything related to his protective custody.
“The N3.5 million monthly feeding on El-Zakzaky is not only about his food, but other expenses on security men attached to him. The security men are permanently stationed with him, they surround where he is kept,” he explained.
He said El-Zakzaky is being guarded by a detachment of soldiers and DSS operatives who live in the place he is being kept, and are also being taken care of by the government.
El-Rufai also said the IMN is an illegal group that is not recognised by the Nigerian government.
According to him, “He (El-Zakzaky) is in custody because he is facing murder charge which is not bailable, among other charges.
“As a government, we decided to proscribe Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) of which El-Zakzaky is the president because it is not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“So any procession in the name of IMN is illegal, as far as Kaduna State government is concerned.”
The Shi’ite leader has been in detention since December 2015. This followed the clash between members of the IMN and the convoy of Nigeria’s army chief, Tukur Buratai in Zaria, Kaduna state
He was charged with murder in May 2018, despite an earlier court ruling in December 2016 granting him bail. The Nigeria government refused and has kept him in detention.
El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, were denied bail by a State High Court in Kaduna recently.