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 to date in our office except the unsigned one being circulated in the media. However, we thank the Ambassador and are 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, a student of Eastern Mediterranean University and was killed on Feb. 1, 2018
iii. Walshak Augustine Ngok, a student of Marine Engineering at Near East University, was 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 was found dead on July 1, 2019.
vi. Augustine Wallies was 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 it 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 proactive 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 citizen’s diplomacy. One has the option to either key into it or ignore it. It should not be misconstrued as an 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, the necessary measures will be taken by the relevant agencies in order to prevent young Nigerians and every other student from falling victim. ”
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”.
In as much 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 its citizens to be molested or killed in any unjustifiable manner while seeking knowledge in a foreign land.
May we continue to witness peace, love, and mutual respect across the