Alleged N4m monthly allowance diversion: El-Zakzaky’s claims, complete falsehood – DSS

The Departmemt of State Services (DSS) has debunked claims by leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ites, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, that the service diverted N4 million monthly allowance for his up keep while in detention.

El-Zakzaky, in an interview with a national newspaper (not Blueprint), Sunday, claimed that his wife and himself were not given a single bottle of water and had to feed themselves while in detention.

The DSS has, however, debunked the claims stating that, “This is a complete falsehood spread by someone desirous of maligning a noble organisation like the DSS.”

In the interview, the Shi’ite leader, who decried the refusal of government agencies to release their passports to enable them travel abroad for medical treatment, said: “Actually, we were not given the opportunity to tell the real story while we were in detention because the people who were detaining us made things difficult for us.

“The real truth is that all through our detention we fed ourselves. Since the time we reached Kaduna, after we were released, nobody gave us a single bottle of water.

“We were feeding ourselves. Even during our stay in Abuja, we were feeding ourselves. But this is something that cannot be disclosed because it was illegal.

“Legally, they were supposed to feed us. But they didn’t want anybody to hear that we were feeding ourselves. For the entire five years, seven months that we were in detention, we fed ourselves; nobody gave us a bottle of water.

“We were even paying electricity and water bills, while in detention. We were paying also for the fuel to power the generator. We bought our own generator in Abuja, even when we were in detention and we were buying fuel to run it.”

Asked how the Minister for Information,

Lai Mohammed, came about the N3.5 million monthly feeding figure, he said: “He was actually not lying. The DSS told him so. But what I learnt was that about N4 million was taken out of the FIRS coffers for our feeding every month. But that money was going to their pocket; not a single kobo was given to or spent on us.

“It is true that they were taking the money out of the treasury but they did not spend it on our feeding. It is a lie that they were feeding us with this money!

“He mentioned N3.5 million; that was what they quoted him to have said. But from my own source, I learnt that it was N4 million every month.”

However, the DSS Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr Peter Afunanya, while responding to questions from our correspondent maintained that, “The service is completely guided by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) which governs its suspect handling rules. El-Zakzaky is talking tongue in cheek.

“It is unfortunate someone like him chose to lie. Possibly, he lost complete memory about the facts and the truth. The DSS doesn’t maltreat suspects. While in India years back, he chose or preferred to be returned to the DSS custody. Why? Because according to him, he had better treatment. So, we will ignore him.”

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