N3.5m Feeding Cost for El-Zakzaki: Why Oak TV Apologised to Lai Mohammed

Oak TV, the news platform that published a footage where Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed claimed that the federal government is spending N3.5 million to feed detained Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has tendered an apology to the minister for publishing what was intended to be an off-the-record discussion.

In the video that went viral on social media, the minister who spoke to State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, had pleaded that the information he released should not be published.

“Please, the issue of where El-Zakzaky is should be kept off the record. It cost the federal government about N3.5 million every month to feed him, this is a fact. We don’t want to inflame passion because it’s a very sensitive matter but that is the situation. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria are a different kind of group,” the minister was quoted to have said.

Outrage trailed the figure dropped by the minister with many Nigerians wondering why it costs so much to feed a detainee that had earlier been granted bail by an Abuja High Court, which also a cost of N50 million against the federal government for incarcerating the Islamic leader and his wife.

A Kaduna State High Court had on Wednesday denied El-Zakzaki bail on the grounds that he did not attach a medical report to his bail application. The leader of Shiite, also known as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN was arrested in December 2015 after members of his religious group clashed with men of the Nigerian Army in Zaria for blocking the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff.

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