The Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the detained leader of Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is fed monthly by the Federal Government with about N3.5m.
El-Zakzaky has been detained since December 2015 after soldiers clamped down on his supporters killing at least 347 of them. The army accused them of blocking a public road being used then by the army chief, Tukur Buratai.
Lai Mohammed’s statement is believed to have been made on Wednesday.
A video of Mr Mohammed making the claim while addressing some journalists has gone viral.
Mohammed, who did make the claim told journalists he was speaking off the record.
The video, however, still made its way to the public.
“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,” 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.”
Mohammed, then defended the figure he announced, saying “Honestly, don’t quote me, but these are the facts.”
At this point Amaechi joked further that he “can take N500,000” monthly to be held in prison by the government.
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.