A video has surfaced of 5 people believed to be aid workers being executed by suspected members of the Nigerian pseudo religious terrorist sect, Boko Haram. It has been some time since the terrorist organization made a show of attacking aid workers, considering the neutral players in the ongoing conflict between the Nigerian military and the terrorist sect. Aid workers provide necessary aid to the indigenes of the towns and cities forcefully displaced by Boko Haram, provide aid and healthcare to captives of the religious sect and ensure that the region continues to function even as the government insists it has functionally erased Boko Haram and reclaimed the territory that they usurped back to Nigeria.
But this video which the Nigerian presidency has now acknowledged in a public statement and conceded that the 5 victims identified in the video were aid workers who were affiliated to the State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee who were abducted a month ago. According to the video shared by Boko Haram the aid workers were killed to make a statement and cast doubts that indeed the aid organizations with whom these people worked and the Nigerian government did not do everything possible to ensure their safe return. This is what the translation of the video (which was delivered in Hausa) alleged:
“this is a message to the infidels who are using you to cheat and turn our people into unbelievers. You should know that your employers are just using you to achieve their aims, but they don’t care about you. That’s why whenever we abduct you, they don’t care about you. Our advice for you is that you should repent and turn to God, or else we shall continue to waylay and abduct you all in all the routes that you traverse. And if you don’t heed to our warning, what is about to happen to these five aid workers would also be fate that will befall you too.”
It is hard to hear this and not think of the hundreds of ‘repentant’ Boko Haram fighters the Nigerian government integrated just last month, the aid workers who were killed and the people who have been displaced in this conflict. At what point do we stop paying with human lives lost or derailed for this conflict, at what point does the government say enough, and treat this situation with the urgency it deserves?
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.