Nigerian students in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have faulted the statement by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission
Nigerian students in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have faulted the statement by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urging parents to stop sending their children to universities in that country.
Dabiri-Erewa had on Monday said hundreds of Nigerian students had been killed in Northern Cyprus without any conclusive investigations carried out by the country’s government. She made this claim while reacting to the death of a Nigerian student, Ibrahim Khaleel, who was allegedly killed in ‘unexplainable’ circumstances in the country.
Reacting, the students said Northern Cyprus is safer for them than any part of Nigeria. The president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Diaspora, Evidence Akhayere, in a statement said while international students face many challenges studying outside their countries, it is not so in Northern Cyprus.
“Like every other country, there have been cases of deaths amongst Nigerian students as well as other international students. Contrary to what the NIDCOM boss had said, these are largely based on natural death and has nothing to do with hate from locals, as a matter of fact, some of these cases are as a result of disputes amongst friends of the shared nationality.”
Also, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students Turkish Republic Zone, where North Cyprus lies; Gideon Jude, disagreed with the chairman of NiDCOM.
He said “It is important to point out that contrary to what Mrs Abike (Dabiri-Erewa) said, we have never had a record of 100 Nigerians being killed. It is not correct. In fact, since my eight years on this Island, I have never heard of any case of such. Even before I became the president and from my predecessor, we have not had a case of 20 Nigerians being killed, not to talk of 100.”
The former president of the National Association of Nigerian Campus Editor (NANCE), Lukmon Fasasi, who is currently a Master’s degree student in communication and media studies at Cyprus International University, also said that Cyprus is the safest place he has been. Fasasi said Northern Cyprus makes him remember his undergraduate days at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
“The locals are accommodating and friendly. Unlike the racism issues across Europe, Turkish Cypriot citizens are very welcoming. They want to take pictures with you, they want to talk to you. ‘Abir’, which means brother ‘arkadaş’ which means friend, are the most used words I have heard the locals use to address students. I will be glad to take the NiDCOM chairman on a tour of the Island, whenever she’s willing to come,” Fasasi said.