Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky, in 'first public appearance since 2015'

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"Part of their evil plot involved spreading false news of the alleged death of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky due to illness on a fake Facebook page".

Nigerian Shia leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky appeared in a one-minute media interview on Saturday, his first public appearance since he and his wife Zeenat were arrested in 2015 following an army crackdown on his group.

The Shiite leader has been in the custody of the Department State Security (DSS) for about two years, after he was taken into custody soon after a clash between his followers and soldiers in Kaduna.

He walked towards the journalist in a white flowing gown with turban.

IMN on Wednesday staged a protest in Abuja.

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He told reporters only that an unspecified medical condition had been "severe on me on Monday" but symptoms then subsided and he was allowed to see his own doctor for the first time.

"I am getting better, thanks to all your prayers", Mr. Zakzaky said before leaving for the vehicle. He has been held without trial despite court orders directing his release.

Zakzaky has been at loggerheads with Nigeria's secular authorities before because of his repeated calls for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in Nigeria.

Nigeria, with a population of 190 million, combines a predominantly Christian south and mainly Sunni Muslim north. Shi'ites are estimated at less than 4 million, although there are no official figures.

"The man is alive, he's on his feet, he's hale and hearty, he's up and doing", he said.