The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, has denied that the Department of State Services (DSS) was spending N4 million monthly on him and his wife while in detention.
Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said that Federal Government was spending N3.5 million on a monthly basis to feed El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat while in DSS custody.
But El-Zakzaky, in an Interview with The PUNCH, debunked the claims, saying, “we were not given the opportunity to tell the real story while we were in detention because the people who were detaining us made things difficult for us.
He said: “The real truth is that all through our detention we fed ourselves. Since the time we reached Kaduna, after we were released, nobody gave us a single bottle of water! We were feeding ourselves. Even during our stay in Abuja, we were feeding ourselves. But this is something that cannot be disclosed because it was illegal. Legally, they were supposed to feed us. But they didn’t want anybody to hear that we were feeding ourselves. For the entire five years, seven months that we were in detention, we fed ourselves; nobody gave us a bottle of water!
“We were even paying electricity and water bills, while in detention. We were paying also for the fuel to power the generator. We bought our own generator in Abuja, even when we were in detention and we were buying fuel to run it.”
Speaking on how the minister arrived at the figure, El-Zakzaky said: “He was actually not lying. The DSS told him so. But what I learnt was that about N4m was taken out of the FIRS coffers for our feeding every month. But that money was going to their pocket; not a single kobo was given to or spent on us. It is true that they were taking the money out of the treasury but they did not spend it on our feeding. It is a lie that they were feeding us with this money!
“He mentioned N3.5m; that was what they quoted him to have said. But from my own source, I learnt that it was N4m every month.”