Turkey cooperating with Nigeria on Ibrahim Uwais, says envoy
OUTGOING Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat, said yesterday in Abuja, that Turkey is cooperating with Nigerian authorities on the issue of 41 year-old Ibrahim Uwais, son of former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, who was reported to have joined the ISIS jihadist group.
He also urged both Turkish and Nigerian authorities to ensure protection of investments of both countries.
Pulat, who was speaking at a breakfast meeting in Abuja to announce his departure from the country, stated that there are over 120 Nigerian companies in Turkey, and more than 30 Turkish companies in Nigeria.
Pulat added that Ibrahim had applied for a tourist visa, which was granted him by the Turkish embassy because he had a “strong credential.”
He explained further that it is difficult for Turkey to identify terrorists and prevent them from using the country as a route to enter into Syria because a lot of people come in as tourists from the Western nations especially, and they need no visa to enter into Turkey.
According to him, Turkey hosts over 45 million tourists a year, but noted that the country has been able to keep ISIS and other jihadists away from its borders because its security agencies are doing their best, and using electronic opticals, which also help to check smuggling.
“45 million tourists are hosted in Turkey. A lot of Western nations travel to Turkey visa free and we can’t know who is a terrorist. We can’t stop these young people because their passports don’t require visas and they come in as tourists.
“When Nigerian authorities required information from us, we cooperated with them. He (Ibrahim Uwais) had strong credentials. He had visa from us as a tourist. We have good cooperation with Nigerian authorities on that,” he said.
According to Pulat, improving the safety of investments will ensure the smooth continuity of relations between both countries. He used the opportunity to praise Nigerian authorities and people for their support for his diplomatic assignment in the country, noting that the Nigerian people “always have a beautiful smile that solves all problems.”
“I came here excited and our relationship has become strong. We have a high level of exchange of business and I wish that continues. Our trade volume has grown more than six times in the last 10 years from $180 million to $2.5 billion. Investment relations are also on the rise. This is a good trend we want to sustain,” he said.
He added that aside from business, there is also good relations between both countries as thousands of Nigerians currently study in Turkey while over 850 Turks reside in Nigeria as businessmen. Also in the last few years, the Turkish airline has expanded its service delivery in Nigeria to having three destinations in Lagos, Abuja and Kano; and also offering cargo services.