Minister of information, culture and tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) is not in detention.
He said the Islamic leader is currently staying with his family in a house built for them by the federal government.
Mohammed made this known while speaking on a Channels TV programme on Thursday.
El-Zakzaky has been in custody for years despite court orders for his release.
But the minister said there is no place to release El-Zakzaky to as “nobody wants to accept him as a neighbour”.
“There is a lot of deliberate misunderstanding on El-Zakzaky’s issue,” he said.
“If a judgment is given and that judgment is appealed, you cannot accuse the government of violating a court order if the appeal has not been decided.
“Also, in the case of El-Zakzaky, how many Nigerians know that El Zakzaky is actually not in prison custody nor police custody nor DSS custody? El-Zakzaky is in a house with his family, this is the honest truth.
“The court ruled that he will be released after his house has been rebuilt. Nobody wants to accept El-Zakzaky as a neighbor. So we have been able to build a house, where do we release him to.”