By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Over 100 Nigerians, most of them students have been killed in mysterious circumstances in Northern Cyprus, a country not recognised by the United Nations.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIODCOM) made this known on Monday and warned Nigerian parents against sending their children to universities in the country.
Dabiri-Erewa said it was too risky to send children to Northern Cyprus schools, a killing field for Nigerian students, killed mysteriously without any conclusive investigations carried out.
She gave the warning when she received in her office, a delegation led by Justice Amina Bello, mother of a Nigerian student, Ibrahim Khaleel Bello, who was allegedly killed in inexplicable circumstances in that country.
She stressed that the death of Khaleel, a third-year engineering student had brought to a tipping point the incessant killing of Nigerian students in the country under baffling circumstances.
The NIDCOM boss, who read out 15 names of Nigerians from a list of more than 100 who were killed in the country, said it was difficult to employ international diplomacy in investigation as the country was only recognised by Turkey.
“The death of Ibrahim Khaleel should be the tipping point to a stop in the killing of our children anywhere in the World, particularly Northern Cyprus.
“It is not only Ibrahim. Kennedy Dede 28, Augustine Ngok, Gabriel Sorewei, Osabanjo Owoyale, Augustine Wallace, Stanley Eteno, Hassan Babatunde, Temitayo Adigun, and Kubat Abraham are just a few of the ones that we even know.
“The problem is that most Nigerian parents do not know that Northern Cyprus is not recognised by any country in the world.
“It is not a UN-recognised country. It is only recognised by Turkey.
“That is why we have not been able to do much. Who do you report to? Thousands of Nigerian students are schooling there and I tell you that hundreds have been killed. Who do you take these cases to?
“And they are killed in similar circumstances. The school just tells you ‘well, they committed suicide’ and nothing happens.
“We are going to list all these names of Nigerians that have been killed and we demand justice. There has been no prosecution and no compensation.
“No Nigerian parent should send their children to any university in Northern Cyprus – there is a collaboration which we do not understand that makes them kill blacks, particularly our Nigerian students,” she said.
She assured the mother of the deceased student that the commission would work with her to demand justice, not only for her son but also for other Nigerians, who have been killed while studying in that country.
She said that the case had already been transferred to INTERPOL through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
The NIDCOM chairman recalled that when she was a serving lawmaker and Sorewei’s killing was on the front burner in Nigeria, the school which seemed unapologetic about the killing had already sent its agents to lure more Nigerians with juicy scholarships.
While acknowledging that Nigerian schools needed improvements, she gave an assurance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s dedication to improving the education sector and insisted that many Nigerian schools were better than some of the acclaimed foreign universities in spite of the odds.
She said that there were already reports that many of the courses being offered by the “shoddy” universities in Northern Cyprus were not accredited, pledging that NIDCOM would work with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) for a possible blacklist of certificates from the country.
“Yes our universities have challenges. There are strikes and you don’t (always) know when you are going to finish but there are some of these universities that you will regret you even went to, including some in Africa.
“It is better to go to a private university here than to go to some of these places that we go to in the name of ‘our children are in Europe’.
“We have written the NUC. The key thing is to blacklist Northern Cyprus and to stop our children from going to that country to study.
“We will be working with the NUC to list all the universities in Northern Cyprus and blacklist them. We cannot be letting them kill our children.
She said that NIDCOM had met with the Ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria, who being new, said he was unaware of the killing but promised to look into the matter.
She added there were plans by NIDCOM to visit Northern Cyprus after the COVID-19 Pandemic to see thing as clearly as they were.
She admonished Nigerians schooling abroad to make it a point of duty to always report to the Nigerian mission in that country upon arrival.
Speaking earlier, the mother of the late student said that she was yet to come to terms with the death of her son whom was reported to have committed suicide but circumstances showed otherwise.
She said that autopsy reports and investigations which she had requested in the past seven months were yet to come, adding that the school authorities were being evasive.
She said that while she was told by authorities that her son jumped from the 7th floor of a building, there was no visible injury on his body or head to suggest that.