The Department of State Services has said it has received the court order granting the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical attention.

The spokesman for the DSS, Peter Afunnaya, in Abuja on Monday said the service was liaising with relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance with a court order.

The statement read, “This is to inform the public that the Department of State Services has received the order granting Ibrahim El-Zakzaky leave to travel to India for medical treatment. Consequently, the Service is liaising with relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance.

“Conformity with the order is in line with the service’s avowed commitment to the rule of law inherent in a democracy.”

Earlier, a Kaduna State High Court on Monday granted El-Zakzaky and wife, Zeenat, permission to travel to an India hospital for medical treatment.

The Shi’ites’ leader and wife were, however, absent when Justice Darius Khobo gave the ruling.

They were granted leave to travel to India for medical treatment following injuries they sustained during the IMN’s clash with the Nigerian Army on December 15, 2015.

Justice Khobo had penultimate Monday fixed August 5 for ruling on the bail application brought by the Shi’ites’ leader and his wife.

During court proceedings last week, their lead counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), had argued that his clients had to travel to India to extract pellets lodged in their bodies since 2015.

However, the lead prosecuting counsel, Dari Bayero, who is also the state Director of Public Prosecutions, opposed the prayers, saying their medical case could be handled locally.

But on Monday, the court granted the IMN leader and wife permission to travel to an Indian hospital for medical treatment, adding that their trial proper would resume after doctors must have given them a clean bill of health.

However, Justice Khobo said El-Zakzaky and his wife must not go to any other hospital other than the one they specifically told the court they were going to for medical treatment.

He added that their journey must be under the strict supervision of state officials.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, Bayero said his team would study the ruling before taking any decision.

“The context of the court ruling is that Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife are granted leave to travel out for urgent medical attention.

“But this is not a bail but a leave to travel,” he said.

When asked how long it would take, the prosecuting counsel said, “Once he (El-Zakzaky, is discharged by the hospital he is referred to and he returns to the country, his trial will resume. The court has ruled and we are bound by the ruling.”

One of El-Zakzaky’s lawyers, Marshal Abubakar, clarified that the application filed by the Shi’ite leader’s lead counsel, Falana, was not a bail application as being wrongly reported in the media.

“It’s not a bail application as is being wrongly reported by the news media. It was an application to save the life of el-Zakzaky and his wife,” he said.

‘It’s victory for dogged determination in the face of persecution’

Reacting to the ruling, members of the IMN said it was a victory for their dogged determination in the face of persecution by the state.

According to the Chairman, Free El-Zakzaky Campaign Committee, Abdurrahman Abubakar, the ruling “is a victory for truth and justice over tyranny and impunity.”

This was contained in a statement by Abubakar in Kaduna after the ruling on Monday.

It stated, “Today, (Monday), we obtained a favourable ruling on the application seeking for the court’s permission to allow Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim to seek urgent medical treatment outside this country.

“This ruling is a victory for our dogged determination, patience and perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice; it’s a victory against tyranny and impunity.

“We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, particularly some very senior citizens, diplomats, human rights activists and organisations, journalists and the general public who doggedly stood by us in the campaign for justice for the victims of the Zaria genocide.”

Tight security in court, metropolis

Meanwhile, during the court proceedings, security was tight within the metropolis while roads leading to the court were blocked by the police and other sister agencies.

This was just as journalists, who besieged the court for coverage, were barred from entering the court premises.

The journalists stayed some metres away from the court.

The state police command had assured residents of adequate protection during and after the court proceedings.

Also, the Kaduna State Government had, through its commissioner for internal security and home affairs, called on residents to go about their business as their safety was guaranteed.