The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission said on Monday that no fewer than 100 Nigerian students studying in Northern Cyprus have been killed between 2016 and 2020. The commission lamented that the Nigerian students were killed in mysterious circumstances while their assailants were never prosecuted for the crime.
A statement on Monday by NiDCOM said the 100 victims included 25-year-old Ibrahim Bello, son of Justice Amina Bello of the Kaduna State High Court. “Other victims include Kennedy Taomwabwa Dede, 28, student of Eastern Mediterranean University killed on February 1, 2018; Walshak Augustine Ngok, a student of Marine Engineering at Near East University, murdered on April 19, 2019,” the statement said.
The statement, signed by NiDCOM media officer, Gabriel Odu, was titled, “Death of Ibrahim Bello: NiDCOM demands justice, urges students to avoid Northern Cyprus universities.” According to the statement, Justice Bello was at the commission’s office in Abuja to plead with the Federal Government to assist her in bringing the murderers of her son to justice.
Ibrahim, a student at the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was killed in suspicious circumstances by unknown persons in October last year. But the authorities claimed the third year Civil Engineering student of Girne American University in Girne (Kyrenia), committed suicide by jumping from a seven-storey building. Presenting a petition on the alleged murder to the Chairman, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in Abuja on Monday, the bereaved mother said her demand for justice was not only for her son but also for other Nigerian students who had died mysteriously in the Girne American University Girne (Kyrenia), and other institutions in Northern Cyprus.
NiDCOM said in its statement that the judge narrated how the 25-year-old was allegedly murdered and the act covered up by the authorities in Northern Cyprus and the university administration which claimed that his death was a suicide, noting that the deceased fell from a seven-storey building. Justice Bello insisted that the report should be investigated and all those found culpable should be prosecuted “as there was nothing to show that my son committed suicide.”
The judge said hours before her son was killed, she spoke with him and he expressed fear about his safety in the university environment. She stated, “I don’t believe it was an accident or a suicide as I went to Cyprus barely 24 hours after it happened and got to the mortuary where there was no scratch or wound on his body. “I suspected foul play that my son was killed as the school was nonchalant in breaking the news to me on my arrival there.”
Justice Bello further disclosed that hours before her son died, he had sent her a WhatsApp message saying, “ Mama, please, I want to come back home. Wallahi, if I stay here, I will just die here without anybody batting an eyelid. I just need to come back home. Mama please, try to understand that this isn’t the place for me.
Dabiri-Erewa called on parents to be wary of sending their wards to Northern Cyprus “as the country is not recognised by the United Nations except the Republic of Turkey,” adding that Nigeria had no diplomatic ties with that country. She assured Bello that NiDCOM would work with the Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Mission in Turkey and other relevant agencies to ensure justice was done.