The Department of State Services (DSS) said yesterday that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is not dead, contrary to rumours.
The sect had in July 2014 similarly encountered the military and three of El-Zakzaky children were among those cut down in the violence.
Speaking on the issue, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Lai Muhammad stated earlier that El-Zakzaky was still being held on the grounds of national security. The disclosure came on the heels of rumours that he has passed on in detention.
But the DSS and his lawyer, Femi Falana both dispelled the stories, and affirmed that he is still alive.
The leader of the Islamic Movement who walked towards the journalists in a white flowing gown with a turban, started the conversation in form of a joke. He is later driven away in a Toyota Prado SUV.More news: New York Mets to sign Adrian Gonzalez
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"So it was my own doctors who examined me". Before, I'm used to being examined by security doctors, but this time, I did not agree.
"I am getting better, thanks to all your prayers", the IMN leader added.
After a clash between his followers and the Nigerian Army, which the Shiites claimed led to the killing of about 800 people in Zaria, mostly their members, was arrested alongside his wife and kept incommunicado, ever since.
In December 2016, A Federal High Court in Abuja ordered his immediate release but the government is yet to obey that order.
Members of his IMN group have staged series of processions across the northern states demanding the release of their leaders.