I came across a publication by the Punch Newspaper dated August 24th, 2020 credited to the CEO, Nigerians in Disapora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa where she was quoted as saying “Stop sending children to schools in Northern Cyprus” on the grounds that “It was too risky to send children to the schools in Northern Cyprus as hundreds of Nigerian students had been killed there mysteriously without any conclusive investigations carried out.”
My position has always been clear and I would like to state for the records that while Mrs. Abike Dabiri is entitled to her opinion literally, I make bold to say, there are loopholes in her statement. The statement was replete with misinformation, sensationalism and for the most part, not in anyway close to reality.
Firstly, I can’t overrule some recorded cases of confrontations resulting in deaths between Nigerians and fellow Nigerians and on the other hand, between Nigerians and Turkish students. We had a record of those few cases and I condemn in the strongest possible terms those unfortunate developments. Criminality happens everywhere, but we shouldn’t allow it to take the lead in society. Where destiny has brought us together, we must appreciate our differences and live in peace. I must also extend my sincere condolences to the families of all victims and those caught in the cross-fire of criminal deaths throughout the world.
However, I wish to respectfully debunk Hon. Dabiri-Erewa’s position because it undermines and rubbishes our concerted efforts to the solutions we are constantly proffering to our challenges as Nigerian students in Northern Cyprus-Turkey.
Having schooled there and tens of thousands of others, it is fair to say that Cyprus is one of the peaceful and coordinated Islands in the world. As a former NANS President and someone keeping abreast of emerging developments concerning the welfare and security of Nigerians in Northern Cyprus, my underlying mission is to correct negative impressions and put the records straight in order to douse tension. There was never a time from time immemorial till date that over 100 Nigerian students were killed in mysterious circumstances in Northern Cyprus. The country has its flaws in some ways but never in the history of its existence have we had such outrageous incidences of over 100 deaths. This is an incorrect information and perhaps Punch Newspaper as a National Daily should have meticulously carried out investigation to ascertain the veracity of Hon. Dabiri-Erewa’s position before publishing. Unfortunately Punch Newspaper threw the principle of objective and balanced reportage to the winds. This is not a PR for Northern Cyprus but an honest analysis of the situation of things in order to unearth the truth for the sake of conscience and posterity.
I’m calling on students and parents whose wards are in Northern Cyprus to remain calm and dislodge any fear in them as the information was exaggerated. Thousands of Nigerians graduated in different schools in Cyprus and are doing well, contributing to global development and reaching the peak of their careers.
I encourage Nigerian government to as a matter of urgency upgrade and further define greater prospects in the educational sector. Parents on the other should constantly inspire and instill discipline in their children to be of good behaviour and contribute significantly to the growth and development of their host countries.
I also call on investigate journalists, media practitioners, and other independent researchers to dig deep and unravel whether or not Hon. Dabiri-Erewa’s position is true. As a student, patriotic Nigerian and concerned leader working to protect the interests of Nigerian students and determined to allay emerging fears, I humbly disagree with her excellency. This is a very sensitive information that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. If she had ever visited the country, she would have spoken from an informed perspective using the language of diplomacy, but her outburst was unfortunate to say the least.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Comrade Zachariah Madaki former NANS President Turkish Zone
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