Richard Ginika Izuora
The Federal Government has released the names of some Nigerians, especially students, who have been killed in Northern Cyprus, and called on Turkey to act by safeguarding life and property of Nigerians in the country.
This followed a letter circulating on the social media on Thursday allegedly authored by the Turkish Government.
The letter comes days after the Federal Government issued a warning to Nigerians, especially would-be students, on travelling to Northern Cyprus.
According to a statement on Thursday by the Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, the warning issued by the Federal Government was only advisory and not enforceable.
The statement said: “The attention of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has been drawn to a letter purportedly written to our Chairman/CEO, Hon. (Dr) Abike Dabiri-Erewa by His Excellency, Hidayet BAYRAKTAR, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye, on the welfare of Nigerians living in Northern Cyprus.
“Firstly, no official letter was received till date in our office except the unsigned one being circulated in the media. However, we thank the Ambassador and glad that our recent media briefing has elicited his response pertaining to the unfortunate incidents in Northern Cyprus.
“It will be recalled that Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and a team from NIDCOM had been to the Turkish Embassy twice to discuss issues related to Nigerians welfare in Turkey and Northern Cyprus, but got no response from the Ambassador.
“It is on record that we received petitions on regular basis from Nigerians, especially parents whose children had been victims in one way or the other in Northern Cyprus.
“Some of the deaths recorded in Northern Cyprus without any resolution from 2016 till date include:
i. Mr. Ibrahim Khaleel Bello (25), son of Justice Amina Ahmad Bello of Kaduna State High Court, 2020.
ii. Kennedy Taomwabwa Dede, 28, student of Eastern Mediterranean University and was killed on February 1, 2018.
iii. Walshak Augustine Ngok, a student of Marine Engineering at Near East University, murdered on April 19, 2019.
iv. Gabriel Soriwei, a first year student of Electrical Electronics of Cyprus International University, Nicosia.
v. Osabanjo Adeola Owoyale, 33, went missing and found dead on July 1, 2019.
vi. Augustine Wallies killed on April 19, 2019.
vii. Stanley Eteimo (28).
viii. Hassan Babatunde (28).
ix. Temitayo Adigun.
x. Kubiat Abasi.
xi. Abraham Okon.
xii. Oziegbe Godspower Airekugose.
xiii. Olasubomi Ope.
“However, we still appeal to the Turkish Embassy to do all they can to protect Nigerians in Northern Cyprus, particularly students, and we are optimistic that the reaction to our recent statement would elicit a positive and pro active reaction from the Embassy.
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of many students who have died in mysterious circumstances in Northern Cyprus, we also pray and hope that only good stories would henceforth emanate from Northern Cyprus.
“Above all, what we have given is advisory in line with our citizens diplomacy. One has option to either key into it or ignore. It should not be misconstrued as exaggeration or an attempt to scare away potential travelers to Northern Cyprus
“Whether it is Nigerians killing Nigerians or drug related crimes, there is some form of danger emanating from Northern Cyprus as alluded to in the Ambassador’s letter thus: ‘I do not dispute that some unfortunate criminal incidents took place in the TRNC, as it happens in any part of the world. However, the occurrence of such incidents is certainly not a daily routine and all these cases are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the TRNC authorities. Moreover, since in many cases, Nigerian citizens are not only victims, but also perpetrators of crimes committed in the TRNC, necessary measure will be taken by the relevant agencies in order to prevent young Nigerians and every other student from falling victims.’
“This is our concern as a responsible Commission whose mandate is to oversee the welfare and well being of Nigerians, and we are glad that the Ambassador has promised to take ‘necessary measures’.
“Inasmuch as we do advise our citizens to always be law abiding wherever they find themselves and be good ambassadors of the country, Nigeria will not fold its arms and allow her citizens to be molested or killed in any unjustifiable manner while seeking for knowledge in a foreign land
“May we continue to witness peace, love and mutual respect across the land.”