FG Kicks Over Nigerian Students Arrested In Turkey

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

The federal government has said that the arrest of two Nigerian students in Turkey may not be unconnected to Nigeria’s refusal to shut down some Turkish schools and institutions in Nigeria as demanded by the Turkish government.

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sola Enikanolaye, made this known in a submission to the Minister of Foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja following the arrest of some 50 Nigerians studying in Turkey last Friday, for an alleged link to a terrorist organization in the country.

Also, the Charge D’Affaires of the Nigerian Mission in Turkey, Ibrahim Isah, revealed that two Nigerian students had been in detention for more than two months at a Prison in Istanbul, Turkey, for allegedly being members of the Fethulla Terrorist Organisation, a group accused of the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Many of the Nigerians were said to be students of Fatih University, one of the many schools shut down by the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt in July.

Enikanolaye stated, “Surely, accusing the students of links to a terrorist organisation is serious even though we know the state of paranoid that has beset the leadership of Turkey following the failed coup attempt.  Our students seem to have been caught in the web of internal politics of Turkey and the clampdown on FETO that was accused of the coup.

“This has severely fractured the country, putting it on a collision course with the civilised members of the international community. The action against our students must have been a reaction to our refusal to close Turkish schools and institutions in Nigeria as arrogantly demanded by the Turkish Government.’’

In a separate report sent to the Foreign affairs minister by the chief of Nigeria’s mission to Turkey, Isah, the two Nigerian students who have been in detention for over one month, had completed their programmes and were waiting for their certificates before their arrest.

According to Isah, the Nigerians, Hassan Adamu and Muhammad Abdullahi, were on the scholarship of the Yobe State Government, and their offence was that they were living in a hostel facilitated by the International Students’ Association, an organisation believed to have links with FETO.

The report read in part: “According to Mohammad, they were preparing to vacate the hostel on that fateful day, having heard that the so-called International Students’ Association was being linked to FETO and that the hostel was under investigation.



    “Unfortunately for them, the hostel was raided before they could move out. They believed that the police were given prior information of the presence of foreign students in the hostel.

    “After the raid, nothing implicating was found on them except three religious books that the police believe were incriminating. Both denied ownership of the books which seemed to put to rest any doubts in the minds of the police that they were members of FETO. Thus, they were immediately arrested and taken to the police station for interrogation and subsequently transferred to Silivri Prisons.”

    It would be recalled that that Turkey, through its ambassador to Nigeria, had demanded that the federal government closed down 17 Turkish schools in Nigeria, alleging that they were owned by terrorists who tried to overthrow the country’s democratically elected president.

    But the demand was not acceded to because the Nigerian government said the said institutions were owned by private individuals who had not been proven to have violated any Nigerian or international law.

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