Why we didn’t stop Nigerian joining ISIS – Turkish envoy
The outgoing Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat, has said Turkey did not stop the son of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who crossed the Turkish border to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists in Syria in February, 2015 because there was no information on the suspect.
Pulat explained that the suspected jihadist was issued a visa because he had strong credentials and references.
The envoy who said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, explained that the Turkish mission in Nigeria extended the necessary cooperation to security agencies when approached over suspicions that the former CJN’s son had gone to join terrorists in Syria.
Pulat, however, added that there is an ongoing international cooperation to stop other foreigners who may want to join the ISIS jihadists, noting that electronic optical control system had been installed at the borders to track smugglers and prospective militants.
He said, “Turkey doesn’t know potential militants but relies on signals from the concerned countries to take action against potential militants. Security agencies approached the embassy on the Nigerian that went to Syria and we extended the necessary cooperation to them.
“The Nigerian was given visa because he came with strong credentials and references and there was no information on him, so he was issued the tourist visa, but we are cooperating with security agencies on the matter. We couldn’t track foreigners going to Syria (to join ISIS) because Turkey is a large country with wide borders.”
Pulat, who has ended his tenure in Nigeria, stated that the ideology behind radicalism and terrorism needed to be understood in order to uproot the phenomenon.
Meanwhile, the Isreali Ambassador, Mr. Uriel Palti, has said diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Israel is on the increase,noting that the two countries are collaborating in the areas of security, and agriculture, among other things.
Palti who said this at a dinner marking the 67th Independence Anniversary celebration of the State of Israel in Abuja, explained that a total of 75,000 pilgrims from Nigeria visit his country every year, a figure higher than pilgrims from the United States.
According to him, since arriving Nigeria for over two years, he has discovered “a fascinating country, with never a dull moment.”
He extended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congratulations to Nigeria on the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections and handed over a letter of commendation from Netanyahu to former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, John Kennedy Okpara.