Following reports that a chieftain of the Islamic State, Ahmed Al Assir, was granted a Nigerian visa in Lebanon, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, David Parradang, may have fallen into troubled waters. Al Assir was arrested by Lebanese authorities on Saturday as he attempted to fly out of the country on a forged passport.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported that Al Assir was caught at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport while trying to board a flight to Egypt using a fake Palestinian passport. Lebanon’s general security directorate said Al Assir was planning on flying to Nigeria via Cairo.
A photo posted by the National News Agency after the arrest revealed that Al Assir had recently adopted a new look, shaving his long, unkempt beard and trading his usual religious robes and headwear for a more inconspicuous jacket and sweater. Some local news outlets suggested Al Assir had also had plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Al Assir became one of the most wanted men in Lebanon after his militia went to battle with the Lebanese army in the port city of Sidon in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 18 soldiers and dozens of his (Al Assir) gunmen.
Reports however revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the issuance of visa to the wanted terrorist who has been on the global terror watch-list. The Nigeria Immigration Service had, before now, received perpetual knocks for its poor handling of the issuance of passports to Nigerians, a situation which often saw foreigners holding valid Nigerian passports.
- National Mirror