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It cost FG N3.5 million to feed Shi’ite leader El-Zakzaky every month

Valentine Chinyem

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Video showing the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed claiming that it costs the government N3.5 million to feed the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) Ibraheem El-Zakzaky every month.

In the video, which was released by Oak TV on Social Media, the minister could be heard seen speaking while addressing newsmen, he said:

“The issue of whether, where he (Mr El-Zakzaky) is, at least let’s keep it off record, that he is in a residence and you know eating at the…

“It costs the government about N3.5 million every month to feed him,” Mr Mohammed said.

The information minister was at that point interjected by the transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, who jokingly mocked the figures saying “then you people need to take me in o.”

Mr Mohammed, then defended the figure he announced, saying “Honestly, don’t quote me, but these are the facts.”

At this point Mr Amaechi joked further that he “can take N500,000” monthly to be held in prison by the government.
Mr Mohammed then briefly explained that he “asked” from relevant people to arrive at his information.

“So please. We don’t want to inflame passion. The issue is a very sensitive matter. But that is the situation. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria are a different kettle of fish,” he said.

Meanwhile, the television station has apologised to the minister for making the video public despite the off-the-record agreement he had with the journalists.

In an apology letter addressed to the minister and dated November 8, the management of the TV station said the video was released in error.

It claimed that all those involved in the error have been sanctioned.

The letter reads, “On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, OakTV made some error (sic) in its reporting regarding a conversation with the Minister of Information.

“This is an error which we regret. All team members involved have been sanctioned, and we would do more to tighten our gate-keeping responsibilities.

“We apologise and regret any embarrassment this might have caused the minister.

“Please, be assured of our highest esteem and regards.”

It will also be recalled that El-Zakzaky who has been in detention for close to two years, after an attack involving his members and the Chief of Army of Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai in Kaduna.

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