Perhaps only the minister of interior, Mr. Abba Moro, is still in doubt about the brutal killing of seven kidnapped foreign Setraco construction workers by a militant Islamic group, Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan. Other Nigerians and the international community have no doubts.
The minister of Niger Delta Godsday Peter Orubebe-led delegation to the corporate headquarters of Setraco Construction Company yesterday in Abuja to sympathise with the management over the unfortunate incident and the video of the bodies of the foreigners (a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese) posted on the Internet on Monday by the bloodthirsty Islamic group have cleared the little doubt some people may have had.
The countries of the victims have also pronounced them killed. What more proof do we need? The horror video released by the suspected al Qaeda-linked group and dated March 9 has shown a gunman standing next to a pile of bodies, and then close-ups of their faces lit up by a torch with Arabic title, “The Killing of The Seven Christian Hostages in Nigeria.”
And a photo caption of the video reads in Arabic and in English: “In the name of Allah Most Beneficent Most Merciful.” But can these evil men claim to have killed in the name of Allah? No! The senseless reason they gave has shown clearly that they were on the devil’s mission. True, the group said that its members killed the hostages in reaction to reported attempted joint effort by Britain and Nigeria to free the hostages.
No matter their warped excuse, their action is senseless, unfortunate and a heinous crime that should be condemned by all right-thinking people created by God. There are no political and religious reasons or agenda that should warrant the killings and the insecurity logjam in the northern part of our country, which have claimed thousands of innocent lives – both Christians and Muslims.
With the killing of the “Innocent 7”, Nigeria has been forcefully dragged into the club of terrorist countries; Britain, Greece, Lebanon and Italy will now see every Nigerian as a terrorist that must be avoided. In the last 24 hours, some of my friends in the north have told me that foreign nationals, especially Lebanese, have relocated to Abuja and Lagos while some of them have returned to their countries. It also means that no foreigner working with construction companies will ever go to any part of the north again for work.
The huge implication can be imagined when we recollect that most project managers working with highly rated construction companies in the country like Julius Berger, Setraco and others are foreigners. The economic implication of what the deadly groups, Boko Haram and Ansaru, are doing to the north is huge. The once most lucrative commercial activities in places like Kano, Kaduna, Yola and Maiduguri have been crippled and the ordinary people who rely on small-scale businesses are worst hit in what General TY Danjuma described as a civil war.
Politically, the “civil war” in the north is about to consume the entire nation. Yet, some politicians still erroneously believe that the insecurity ravaging the north is President Goodluck Jonathan’s problem or headache. I have consistently argued in this column that the trouble in the north today is a product of many years of neglect by past leaders at all levels of government -- traditional, political class and civil society groups that have failed woefully to continue to keep the political actors on their toes.
The governors, traditional rulers and other well-meaning northerners must stop apportioning blame to one another; they should come together and find solutions to the crisis. It is a shame that amidst all the numerous crises tearing the region apart, what matters to many politicians at present is their selfish and inordinate political ambition in 2015.
Rather than confronting the economic, security and welfare issues facing their people, they are busy wasting the common wealth of the people who entrusted their resources in their care for their selfish agenda, two years away from the general election. If they fail to act today, they will meet the consequence tomorrow.