The indications emerge that Ahmad Al-Assir, the Lebanese Sunni Muslim extremist, came to Nigeria on the invitation of a foreign company operating in the country, Daily Trust reports.
The news broke recently when a fugitive terrorist, Ahmad al-Assir, who had been in hiding for two years, was arrested in Lebanon while attempting to leave the country.
An official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs supposed that Al-Assir got entry permission because Nigeria’s embassies do not take applicants’ biometric data.
However, insiders in Nigeria’s security circles said the visa was issued by a Foreign Service official (name withheld) in Beirut based on that invitation.
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Without a letter of invitation the ISIS leader’s visa application would not have been accepted.
Discussions within the security circles in Nigeria focused on a popular middle-eastern company (name withheld) functioning in Nigeria as the initiator of the invitation letter for the issuance of the visa. A source said allegations that a bribe of about $8, 000 was paid by Al-Assir to obtain the visa has not been confirmed.
But the other sources said even if a bribe that big was presented it was highly unlikely that the official who issued the visa received such money alone.
It was said that the intelligence report of the plans of Al-Assir to visit Nigeria was provided to the Lebanese authorities by Hezbollah.
He pointed out that the lack of an active Foreign Service link with security and intelligence organization at the Nigeria embassy in Beirut made it problematic to share such intelligence operations with Nigeria directly.
It is alleged in security circles that Al-Assir is coming to Nigeria to link up with Boko Haram leaders to lend support. Sources stressed that Nigeria needs to expand its foreign service liaison in Beirut and other embassies abroad so as to get vital intelligence of security concerns, because apparently non-existed.
“Foreign Service officials are supposed to communicate with intelligence and security organizations of host countries and share intelligence information in the tradition of “give and take,” the sources added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered probe into how the ISIS leader secured a valid Nigerian visa in Lebanon.