The Government of Turkey on Thursday said it had alerted the Federal Government to the existence of schools allegedly owned by suspected terrorists and want them shut down.
Turkey said it had officially notified the Nigerian government “to the existence of 17 of such schools in Nigeria, which bear the name of Turkey” but were not owned by the European country.
The country said the institutions, which ranged from schools to hospitals, were allegedly owned by the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation allegedly founded by Fethullah Gulen.
The Turkish government, which stated that the country did not own any school in Nigeria, said similar schools established in Turkey had been shut down.
A document released by the Turkish embassy listed the indicted schools and institutions as Surat Educational Limited, Abuja; Nigerian-Turkish International School, in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Ogun and Lagos; and the Nigerian-Turkish Nile University, Abuja.
Others, according to the embassy, are The Association of Businessmen and Investors of Nigeria and Turkey/Abinat, Abuja and Lagos; Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, Abuja; Nigerian-Turkish Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja; and Vefa Travel Agency, Abuja.
The Ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria, Mr. Hakan Cakil, while speaking to the Vice- Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, when the latter paid the diplomat a visit at his Abuja office, allegedly that the owners of the schools sponsored the recent coup in Turkey.
Sani was there in company with select journalists, including our correspondent.
According to the ambassador, confessions by the coup plotters, who are currently under investigation, have indicated that the same syndicate which hatched the botched July 15, 2016 coup, own the schools in Nigeria.
Cakil said the organisation and its investments had enjoyed wide acceptance by the public in Turkey until suspected coupists confessed to using the organisations for terrorist activities.
The ambassador said, “You may be aware that the Government of Turkey has started to investigate the sponsors of the coup and it is now very clear that Gulen was behind the coup. There are some testimonies we have taken from the military officials.
On the schools in Nigeria, the envoy said, “In Nigeria, they have 17 schools; some of them are in Kano, Abuja, Lagos, etc., and they are offering scholarships to their graduates. They are not Turkish government schools. The schools bearing “Turkish” are schools belonging to Fethullah Gulen.
“We are starting a legal process to take the name “Turkish” out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish government; they are misleading the public.
The ambassador alleged that the universities were used to indoctrinate international students including Nigerians by the group.
He added, “I have already contacted my counterpart in Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I have already requested officially, both orally and written, for the closure of these schools. Also, I have informed Mr. Geoffrey Onyema and Mr. Abba Kyari on this subject, requesting their support on closing down the schools,” he said.
The diplomat noted that his country had attached “too much importance” to the issue.
Sani, in his response, said the Nigerian government would first investigate the allegations before acting on them.
He said, “Those issues you raised are issues someone like me will like to pursue to the end. We cannot claim to be a democracy and harbour people who will overthrow government in another country.
But when contacted, the Director of Press and Public Communication, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Clement Aduku, said he was not aware of the letter by the Turkish mission.
“I have not seen any such of communications yet, but will find out from our principals if they have seen or received any update on the matter,” he said in an SMS.