Thursday, 20 August 2015

Don't Drag Buhari into ISIS Chief’s Visa Incident - Presidency

The Presidency yesterday cautioned against dragging the name of President Muhammadu Buhari into the controversy over how a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Ahmed   Al-Assir, got a Nigerian visa.

A presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said yesterday that it was mischievous to drag the person of President Muhammadu Buhari into how the ISIS chief secured the visa.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called for a full report on the case and it is investigating it.But it is mischievous for anyone to attempt to drag the person of President Muhammadu Buhari into the incident. The Buhari administration had nothing to do with the suspect or the supposed visit of the ISIS chief.
“Without prejudice to the ongoing investigation, it should be noted that Nigerian missions are to serve, they can adjudge an applicant for visa on the basis of documents presented to the Embassy. What is hidden in their heart, you will not know.
“And for this applicant, we have read report of how he concealed his identity and wore a new look to get the visa.
“Since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking into the matter, let us await the outcome of the investigation.”
According to the Nation,Al-Assir, said to be the Chief Imam of ISIS was arrested on August 15 at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport in Lebanon on his way to Nigeria through Egypt.

In spite of being on the watch-list of Lebanon’s security services since 2013, Al-Assir was detected while holding a fake Palestinian passport with the Nigerian visa.
The Lebanese government accused him of involvement in the death of 17 Lebanese soldiers.
He was also sentenced to death in absentia by a Lebanese court.
But how he beat the visa process at the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon is creating ripples in security circles.

The Federal Government is said to be disturbed that Al-Assir succeeded in deceiving the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Embassy officials.
Although the suspect reportedly changed his identity and looks and presented superficial documents for visa, the government decided to probe the incident to ascertain that there was no internal collaboration at its mission.

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