Nigerian or British? In the aftermath of the brutal murder of a British soldier by two Briton Islamist fanatics of Nigerian descent, the argument many Nigerians continue to have is whether or not the men can be considered Nigerian.
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Habib Habu, said on Thursday that the two suspects, Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, who brutally murdered Drummer Lee Rigby in southeast London on Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. are not Nigerians.
Like many Nigerians who have taken to social networking sites to distance the nation from the killers, the envoy, in a message published by the Vanguard, condemned the action, but stresses that the culprits are Britons.
British media did identify Adebowale and Adebolajo, the men who, without provocation, beheaded Drummer Rigby, 25, on John Wilson street, as Britons “of Nigerian descent”, a fact that irks many from the West African nation, including Amb. Habu.
“It is now being made to look like Nigeria has shown itself “again” in the action of this British boy who beheaded a soldier,” Habu said, referring to Adebolajo, 28, the first suspect identified in the press.
“This lunatic was born in the United Kingdom, never been to Nigeria, issued a birth certificate in the UK and hold a British passport.
“He now commits a barbaric act and suddenly he is now a Nigerian?” he queried.
He says Nigeria should be left out of the wicked act because “we have our own problems to contend with.”
His sentiment is echoed across Facebook and Twitter, with many Nigerians claiming a Nigerian name, does not a Nigerian make.
Another writer, Ropo Akin, published an 0p-ed article in 360nobs.com titled “Woolwich Slaughter: Dear England, Please Leave Nigeria Out of This”, in which he says of Adebolajo, “this guy is not a Nigerian”.
It isn’t clear who this argument is targeted at in particular. The British authorities have focused more on the suspects’ ties to radical Islamists groups like Al Muhajiroun and have placed no real importance on the fact that they are “of Nigerian descent”.
Furthermore, is it at all possible, with names like Adebowale and Adebolajo, to deny the fact that they are in fact of “Nigerian descent”?
Will it reflect poorly on us as a nation? One would hope not, but it is information, data, regarding these two men that will be filed and noted.