On 22 September, Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram posted a video on Islamic State’s Amaq news site showing the execution of Christian aid workers Godfrey Ali Shikagham and Lawrence Duna Dacighir.
Morning Star News reports that the two young men, both members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in central Plateau state, had gone to Maiduguri in the northeast to help build shelters for people displaced by Islamist violence. Terrorists from Boko Haram faction Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) captured them as they carried out their work in a displaced persons camps. They were related to each other and their identities were confirmed by their cousin, COCIN pastor John Pofi.
The video shows the two Christians kneeling while three masked, armed terrorists stand behind them and shoot them. One of the terrorists announces that they have vowed to kill every Christian they capture in revenge for Muslims killed in past religious conflicts in Nigeria. Ethnic and religious tensions resulted in clashes between Muslims and Christians in Jos in 2001 and 2008.
It is not clear from the video when the two men were executed. Pastor Pofi stated in a text message, “Lawrence and Godfrey left Abuja for Maiduguri in search of opportunities to utilise their skills for the betterment of humanity and paid with their lives. We will never get their corpses to bury. The community will have to make do with a makeshift memorial to these young lives cut short so horrifically.”
He said that if the federal government had created economic opportunities for those tempted to join extremist groups and had returned security to the country his cousins would not be dead, and commented: “We must ask ourselves if this is the kind of country we want where young men who are earning an honest living are brutally killed while those who abduct and kill others are invited to dialogue with government.”
Lawyer writes to UN secretary general
Following the incident, lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe of the US-Nigeria Law Group, a legal consulting firm with a focus on human rights, wrote to the United Nations secretary general expressing concern that the Nigerian government had not condemned the killing of the two Christians.
“Lawrence and Godfrey… were using their skills to provide a basic human need of shelter to others when they were killed,” he wrote. “Your excellency, we wish to draw your urgent attention to the fact that… the recorded number of aid workers slaughtered by terrorists in Nigeria over the past decade is now in excess of forty.”
After mentioning several cases of aid workers taken hostage, he concluded, “We urge the secretary general to remind President Buhari of Nigeria’s obligations under international humanitarian law to negotiate the protection of aid workers and non-combatant civilians in its dialogue with BH/ISWAP [Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province].”
(Morning Star News)