As fears surfaced in diplomatic quarters that the visiting TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would again ask the Nigerian government to close down schools linked to the Gulen Movement when he meets President Muhammadu Buhari during his ongoing four-day diplomatic tour of three African countries, leading civil rights advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to accede to such anti-people’s and anti-democratic demands if such comes up.
HURIWA in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, also expressed apprehension that the official visit of the President of Turkey to Nigeria may motivate Islamist and terror affiliated groups going by the allegations that the Turkish leader is an Islamist who backs terror movements operating in Libya and parts of Africa including the North East of Nigeria.
The Rights group is not happy that since around 2016 that a certain Turkish Airlines flight was intercepted at the International Airport in Lagos with large consignment of guns and bullets including other sophisticated military hardwares, Nigerians are still not aware of the details of the investigation by Nigerian Customs on the ownership of those weapons just as the Rights group expressed worries that the Airline was never sanctioned by the Nigerian authority.
HURIWA recalled that there are considerable suspicion that the Turkish government wants to take over the schools upon their closure by the Nigerian government going by fact that these schools are linked to the Gulen Movement, an international, faith-based civil society organisation, is led by United States-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethulah Gulen.
Gulen is alleged to be the mastermind of the July 15, 2016 bloody coup which attempted to remove Erdoğan from power.
Gulen had denied involvement in the coup but the Turkish government insists he was behind the coup which involved an assassination attempt on Erdoğan and loss of over a hundred lives.
The Gulen Movement owns a chain of 17 high profile educational establishments in Nigeria. The educational institutions owned by the Gulen Movement in Nigeria include: Surat Educational Ltd., Abuja; Nile University in Abuja; and the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC), which was formerly known as Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTIC).The NTIC colleges, regarded as prestigious educational institutions, are located in several major Nigerian cities, including Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna.
HURIWA recalled that the Turkish government’s clampdown on the Gulen schools forced the change of name in 2017, from Nigerian Turkish International Colleges to Nigerian Tulip International Colleges, but the management of the institutions had explained that the name change was informed by a desire to separate academic activities from politics.
The educational institutions, run by the Gulen Movement which the Turkish government had since designated as a terrorist organisation, have been operating in Nigeria since 1998. The Gulen Movement runs schools and universities in more than 160 countries. The organisation also owns the Nizamiye Hospital in Abuja.
HURIWA however stated that the schools formerly known as Turkish International Colleges in Nigeria have contributed massively to scholarship just as the Rights group said acceding to the political demands by the Turkish leader by closing the schools in Nigeria would undermine Nigeria’s Sovereignty and drastically lead to dwindling foreign direct investments into Nigeria because potential international investors won’t trust a Country that can play politics with investors assets to satisfy and whimsically massage the ego, whims and caprices of foreign dictators.
HURIWA warned that President Muhammadu Buhari must never subject Nigeria to the global opprobrium of negotiating away the ownership of massive educational assets of genuine international investors who brought these huge assets with humongous values to Nigeria and established a World class educational brand in Nigeria that has produced dozens of academic scholars of Nigerian origin.
HURIWA also wants Nigerian President to demand reports on the accusations that Turkish Airline commercial flights are used to fly in weapons of mass destruction which are sent to Islamic terrorists in Northern Nigeria.