By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—The Fethullah Group in Nigeria has commenced a high level meeting to deliberate on their next line of action, in reaction to reported plans by the Federal Government to consider the request of the Turkish government that members of the group, who have taken refuge in the country, be extradited home.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had on the sidelines of D-8 meeting in Istanbul, agreed to cooperate to fight terrorism, with the former agreeing to consider request of the latter put in last year.
But speaking in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, an official of the group, who chose not to be named, said senior officials of the group had been in a marathon meeting, weighing various options on what next to do.
Also contacted on phone in Lagos, yesterday, spokesman of the Fethullah Movement, FETO, who said he was speaking in his private capacity, said: “I have no problem with the Nigerian government. So if the order is the wish of the Nigerian government, I have no choice but to respect it.
‘’I am speaking as a private Turkish citizen in Nigeria. If they want to extradite me, they will extradite me; what can I do?”
On the possible reaction of FETO to the extradition order, he said: “We don’t have any specific reaction, we just respect the action of the government. We’re happy with the Nigerian government. So, there’s no problem.”
Efforts to get the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm if Nigeria had extradition treaty with Turkey last night failed as calls pulled through the phones of spokesman of the ministry remained unanswered at press time.
The ministry later issued a terse statement, saying Minister of Foreign Affair, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, had said every individual of whatever nationality legally residing in Nigeria was guaranteed full protection under Nigerian and international laws.
The statement read: “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to some media reports credited to the Honourable Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, implying that 1000 Turkish nationals face extradition from Nigeria at the request of the Turkish government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the ministry wishes to state in clear terms that no such agreement was entered into. Every individual of whatever nationality, legally residing in Nigeria is guaranteed full protection under Nigerian and international laws.”