Nigerian Students Detained In Turkey, All A Rumor –Ambassador
Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, yesterday, cleared the air on the reported detention of 50 Nigerian students in Turkey since the July 15 failed coup.
He said no foreign student, either from Nigeria or elsewhere, is held by Turkish authorities at the moment.
Instead, Cakil explained that his country’s government has transferred 259 Nigerian students studying in private universities that were closed down after the coup to state universities.
The envoy made the clarification during an interaction with newsmen in Abuja.
His clarification is coming on the heels of former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu’s letter to the country’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demanding the release of the students.
The former governor, who wrote on behalf of the Uzor Kalu Foundation, praised Erdogan for his democratic credentials, but pleaded with him to unconditionally release the 50 students.
Cakil reiterated that Turkey authorities do not have any Nigerian student in its cells.
“I can tell you that there is no truth that 50 Nigerian students are detained in Turkey. Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called me twice when the news came that 50 Nigerian students have been detained in Turkey. I spent one week in Turkey to clarify this.
The ambassador said the Turkish embassy sponsored President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to Turkey to investigate whether or not 50 Nigerian students were in detention in Turkey.
“NANS led a protest to our embassy, demanding the release of 50 Nigerian students some days ago. I came out and addressed the students and I asked them to nominate one person among themselves to go to Turkey and find out the truth. NANS president was nominated and we sent him to Turkey.
“He spoke with Nigerian students in Turkey. He spoke with key authorities in the country.
“He returned on October 22 and admitted that no Nigerian student is in detention.
“I challenge anybody to visit Turkey and find out the truth”.
He denied insinuations that Turkey, in a bid to revenge Nigeria’s refusal to close down Turkish International Schools in Nigeria as requested by the authorities, decided to detain students.
“I don’t know how the rumours came about, but what is certain is that Turkey’s foreign policy does not encourage such thing. There is no truth in the rumor,” the ambassador said, adding, “Turkey has excellent relations with Nigeria.”
On the fate of Nigerian students in the private universities closed down after the coup, Cakil said the 259 students were transferred to state owned universities. He argued that the state universities were of better standard than the private universities.
The envoy disclosed that scores of Nigerian students would soon be awarded scholarship by Turkey.