By Rafiu Ajakaye
Lagos Nigeria (AA)-Turkish embassy Saturday denied backing a secessionist bid in Nigeria’s southeast region, despite video footage to the contrary.
The embassy released a statement that disowned video footage by a Turk who expressed support for Igbo secessionist activists and hurled insults at the Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari.
It came a day after, Abdülkadir Erkahraman, a Turkish citizen claiming to be a diplomat, released the footage in which he expressed backing violent agitation in Nigeria’s southeastern region.
Many Nigerians are livid about the video and called on Abuja to investigate the so-called diplomat.
Turkey disowned Erkahraman in the statement on Saturday.
“Abdülkadir Erkahraman is neither a diplomat nor a civil servant or an official representative of the Government of Turkey,” the embassy said in the statement issued from the Nigerian capital Abuja.
“The Government of Turkey is committed to the territorial integrity and political unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Furthermore, Turkey never supports secessionist activities against the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” it added.
Tension reached a boiling point in the southeast region as the army moved in to stamp out the violent agitation. Several have been killed in shootings linked to the troops and the separatists, whose umbrella body Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) has now been designated a “violent terrorist organization” and proscribed.
On Saturday, police confirmed four non-natives killed by the separatists in the oil-rich delta state as videos continue to emerge of the violent activities of IPOB against Muslims in the region, including destruction of a mosque.
Muslim leaders have called for calm and warned against reprisals especially in the mostly Muslim northern region.