No fewer than 100 Nigerian students studying in Northern Cyprus were killed between 2016 and 2020, according to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
NiDCOM, which disclosed this in a statement, said the Nigerian students were killed in mysterious circumstances.
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’.
The Commission expressed sadness that those responsible for the death of the Nigerian students were never prosecuted.
NiDCOM said the 100 victims included Ibrahim Bello, a 25-year-old son of Justice Amina Bello of the Kaduna State High Court.
Ibrahim, a 300 level Civil Engineering student at the Girne American University in Girne (Kyrenia), in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was killed in October 2019.
Other victims mentioned in the statement include Kennedy Taomwabwa Dede, 28, student of Eastern Mediterranean University who was killed on February 1, 2018, and Walshak Augustine Ngok, a student of Marine Engineering at Near East University, murdered on April 19, 2019.
According to the statement, after Ibrahim was fund dead, the university’s management claimed he committed suicide by jumping from a seven-storey building.
The statement explained that the victim’s mother, Justice Amina Bello, presented a petition on the alleged murder to the Chairman, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in Abuja on Monday.
Justice Bello said she is demanding justice for her son and other Nigerian students who had died mysteriously in the Girne American University Girne (Kyrenia), and other institutions in Northern Cyprus.
Insisting that her son was murdered, Justice Bello said there was nothing to show that he committed suicide.
According to the statement, Justice Bello said she spoke with her son hours before he was killed.
During the conversation, he expressed fear about his safety in the university environment, according to the statement.
Justice Bello said, “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, according to the statement, added that shortly 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.”
Following the development, Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerian parents to stop sending their children to schools in Northern Cyprus.
According to her, Northern Cyprus is not recognised by the United Nations except the Republic of Turkey, and as such, Nigeria has no diplomatic ties with that country.
However, she promised that NiDCOM will ensure that the dead Nigerian students get justice.