Nigeria’s Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, said the government has been feeding leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky with about N3.5 million on a monthly basis.
The Shiite leader has been in detention since December 2015. His alleged offences took place during the December 2015 clash between the IMN and a convoy of Nigeria’s army chief, Tukur Buratai.
“The issue of whether, where he (El-Zakzaky) is, at least, let’s keep it off record, that he is in a residence and you know eating” Mohammed told journalist in a viral video circulating online.
“It costs the government about N3.5 million every month to feed him,” Mohammed said.
The minister further defended the figure he announced, saying “Honestly, don’t quote me, but these are the facts.”
He was however, interrupted by the Nigeria’s minister of transport Rotimi Amaechi who said “then you people need to take me in o. I can take 500,000.”
Mohammed’s claim has generated unfriendly reactions from the Nigerian public, citing government’s unresolved negotiation to agree a N30,000 minimum wage for workers.
El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, were denied bail application by a State High Court in Kaduna on Wednesday, November 7.
He was charged with murder in May 2018, despite an earlier court ruling in December 2016 granting him bail. The Nigeria government refused and kept him detention.