The ISIS leader, Ahmed Al-Assir, who was arrested in Lebanon on his way to Nigeria lately, was coming on the invitation of a foreign company operating in the country.
According to Daily Trust ,Nigeria’s security circles spoke on condition of anonymity that the visa was issued by a Foreign Service official (name withheld) in Beirut based on that invitation.
Our sources said without a letter of invitation the ISIS leader’s visa application would not have been approved. Discussions within the security circles in Nigeria centred on a popular middle-eastern company (name withheld) operating in Nigeria as the originator 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 our sources said even if a bribe that big was offered it was highly unlikely that the official who issued the visa received such money alone.
It was hinted that the intelligence report of the plans of Al-Assir to visit Nigeria was given to the Lebanese authorities by Hezbollah.
He pointed out that the lack of an active Foreign Service liaison with security and intelligence organization at the Nigeria embassy in Beirut made it difficult to share such intelligence operations with Nigeria directly.
It is suspected in security circles that Al-Assir is coming to Nigeria to link up with Boko Haram leaders to lend support. Sources emphasized that Nigeria needs to improve its foreign service liaison in Beirut and other embassies abroad ´so as to obtain vital intelligence of security concerns, because apparently non-existed.”
Foreign Service officials are supposed to liaise 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 an investigation into how the ISIS leader secured a valid Nigerian visa in Lebanon.
Credible sources told Daily Trust that the Presidency felt embarrassed and scandalized that a man on the international terror list had obtained a Nigerian visa and was on his way to the country.
The sources told our reporter that it was even worrisome for the government that Al-Assir was trying to enter Nigeria at a time when the country is trying to put down the Boko Haram insurgency that has caused so much death and destruction.
The government had therefore directed the three agencies involved – the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Nigerian Immigration Service to immediately investigate the matter and report back soonest.