The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to the Buhari government to ignore the allegation made by the visiting Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan had said when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja that Turkish terrorist organisations that tried to remove him from office are in Nigeria.
Responding, MURIC, in a statement signed by Ishaq Akintola, its national director, advised Buhari to ignore the claims made by Erdogan.
MURIC said that those groups being described as terrorists by Erdogan have been in Nigeria for over 20 years building primary, secondary schools, universities, hospitals, engaging in humanitarian services, assisting poor Muslims to meet religious obligations like hajj and sacrificial animals.
“We heartily welcome the bilateral agreements signed by Nigeria and Turkey as they have the potential to boost economic and military advancement in both countries,” MURIC said.
“However, we take the Turkish president’s allegation that there are Turkish terrorists in Nigeria with a pinch of salt. It is false, baseless and of no consequence whatsoever.
“We are aware of the existence of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists in the country but we reject the attempt to label innocent Turkish citizens as terrorists just because there is a political difference between them and their president.
“He derailed by veering into the issue of opposition members from his country who reside in Nigeria. He should have ignored them.
“Erdogan’s humongous Muslim hero image [will not] becloud or diminish MURIC’s commitment to protecting Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims in Nigeria, be it individual or group. This is where the issue of protecting the rights of members of HIzmet in Nigeria comes in.
“Or is it terrorism to build hospitals and establish schools? The terrorists that we know (Boko Haram) blow up schools and hospitals. Is it terrorism to build boreholes for public schools? Is it terrorism to assist Nigerians on hajj and sacrificial animals? Erdogan is our hero as a defender of Islam but his allegation of terrorism against these people does not hold any water at all.
“What we know of them is that they build primary and secondary schools, universities and hospitals. They also engage in humanitarian services, assisting poor Muslims to meet religious obligations like hajj and sacrificial animals.
“They have been in this country for more than 20 years (even before Erdogan became Prime Minister) and some of the institutions established by them in Nigeria are two decades old already. A coup which allegedly occurred in Turkey five years ago while these people were still in Nigeria should not be hanged on their necks.
“Unfortunately they are already being punished for what took place in their absence as they are not allowed to return to Turkey ever since the coup. Members of their families (wives, husbands, children, etc) who are in Turkey are not allowed to travel out to join them.
“We can understand the sentiment felt by any Muslim who regards Erdogan as a hero.
“Nonetheless, FG deserves accolades for securing eight bilateral agreements with Turkey. Some of the agreements include security, energy, mining and hydrocarbons.
“We advise FG to key into these pragmatic gains of the visit rather than dissipate energy on a wild goose chase. FG should ignore the allegation because Erdogan has no single shred of evidence. It is false, baseless and of no consequence whatsoever.”