Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed says the Federal Government spends N3.5 million monthly to feed the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.
The minister, who was giving an update on the whereabouts and safety of the Shi’ites leader and his wife, made this comment while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
“The issue about where he is, I think let’s keep it off record,” Mohammed said when asked about the whereabouts of Sheikh El-Zakzaky.
Speaking further, Mohammed said: “That he is in a residence, eating and I mean, it costs the government about N3.5 million every month to feed him,” Mohammed said to the amusement of the reports as they responded with laughter.
Responding to the reactions of the reporters, the minister said: “honestly these are the facts,” stressing that “I asked” in reference to the feeding fee of the Shi’ites leader.
The minister furthered that the issue of the IMN leader is a “very sensitive matter” adding that the“Islamic Movement in Nigeria are a different cattle of fish.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada, denied El-Zakzaky and his wife bail. The presiding judge said the accused had not shown any substantial medical evidence to be granted bail.
Justice Kurada ordered that the two accused should remain in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) throughout the period of their trial. The presiding judge thereafter adjourned the matter to January 22, 2019.
The Shi’ite leader and his wife have been in detention since December 2015 when his followers clashed with troops of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna state.
El-Zakzaky is facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace.