President Recep Erdogan of Turkey and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari have signed eight memorandum of understandings (MoUs) on key sectors in an occasion which the visitor seized to alert that terrorist from Turkey were in Nigeria.
President Erdogan told his host on October 20, 2021 at a joint briefing after signing the MoUs on energy, defence, mining and hydrocarbons, that the terrorists who tried to remove him from office through a coup in 2016 were still active in Nigeria.
The Turkish leader, in 2016, accused allies of renowned cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who own Turkish schools and hospitals across Nigeria, of sponsoring the coup.
Turkish envoy in Nigeria, Mr Hakan Cakil, had at the time called on Buhari to close the Turkish schools and hospitals in Nigeria belonging to a group of private Turkish investors who are inspired by the philosophy of the Hizmet movement.
The Nigerian government had, however, rejected the proposal, causing tension between both countries but in a reconciliatory tone on Wednesday in Abuja, Erdogan told Buhari that his administration would share intelligence with Nigerian authorities.
“As Turkey, we have been closely monitoring the development in Nigeria, our brotherly and friendly nation. The terrorist organisations, the armed gangs and the marine vendors are continuously active in Nigeria and the Nigerian authorities are continuously fighting them.
“In order to cooperate further in the field of military operations, defence and security, we are doing everything that will be available. We are ready to share our capabilities, every extending capacity as Turkey with Nigeria, especially in the field of defence, industry and security which are being praised by the globe.
“The sensitivity we show in fighting terrorism, I hope will be reciprocated by our Nigerian brothers and sister and our counterparts. The perpetrators of the heinous failed coup of July the 15 FETO are still very active in Nigeria. And we are continually sharing our intelligence with Nigerian interlocutors and authorities.”
After the signing the MoUs which implementation would kick off immediately, Turkish President said his country hoped to expand trade volume with Nigeria from the current $2 billion to $5 billion.
He reported that Turkey has increased its diplomatic presence in Africa to 43 missions and announced that the third round of the Turkish-African business forum would be held in Istanbul this October.
In his response, President Buhari said that they had useful discussions on a number of bilateral issues, aimed at strengthening cordial relationship between the two countries.
‘‘The key issues we touched on included a Series of Bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding that had been finalised.
‘‘As a positive outcome, eight major Agreements and MoUs on a number of the key sectors including Energy, Defence Industry, Mining and HydroCarbons among others were signed today.
“We have agreed that implementation is to commence immediately.
‘‘In the course of our discussions, we also reviewed the travel ban list based on the revised COVID-19 protocols and removed Turkey from Nigeria’s Travel Ban List.’’
He thanked the Turkish President and the First Lady for commissioning the Turkish Cultural Centre in Abuja as well as opening the newly renovated Government Secondary School in Wuse, Abuja undertaken by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIIKA).
Buhari praised Erdogan for opening his country’s borders to accommodate millions of refugees in dire need of humanitarian support.
He said that Turkey had set an example to the rest of the world on how to treat refugees.
“I commend your leadership and generosity in receiving and accommodating four million refugees fleeing from conflict areas, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. You have indeed set an example to the rest of the world,” Buhari told Erdogan.
President Buhari described the two-day visit of President Erdogan and the First Lady, Emine, as a reflection of the ‘robust, warm and cordial bilateral relation’ between Nigeria and Turkey.