Top officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and senior Presidency officials held a marathon meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, where they brainstormed on the best way to secure the release of Nigerian students detained by the Turkish government.
It was learnt that the meeting which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Permanent Secretary, MFA, Amb. Sola Enikanolaiye, top directors and senior Presidency officials, ended around 7pm.
The minister, it was learnt, proposed a diplomatic overtures by President Muhammadu Buhari to his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, as a way of resolving the imbroglio.
Findings indicate that the MFA’s proposal was hinged on the need to avoid a long drawn diplomatic row with Turkey.
Our correspondent gathered that the meeting was not able to find a quick solution to the issue, as the participants were weighing the implications of “Buhari pleading with Erdogan to release the students without losing face or appearing weak.”
Apart from securing the release of the detained students, the ministry, it was learnt, also want Buhari to get the Turkish authorities to regularise the visas of the affected students whose schools were shut in the aftermath of the failed July 15, 2016 coup in Turkey.
The government, it was learnt, would also mount pressure on the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, to prevail on his government to release the detained students, two of whom were being kept in jail for allegedly belonging to a terrorist organisation.
The Director of Public Communication, MFA, Dr. Clement Aduku, confirmed the meeting at the Aso Villa, but declined to speak on its outcome.
“We have been meeting at the Villa for several hours; In fact, I am just leaving the (Presidential) Villa now (7pm).
“I can’t say anything on the meeting. The issue is very sensitive. We are still trying to find a solution to it,” he said over the phone.