Diplomatic Deluge

Jonathan Goodluck has been asked by the Italians to provide a ‘reconstruction’ of the rescue events, and are questioning why Italian representatives were not contacted locally or in Italy. David Cameron argues the Italian government was informed but not as responsive, surely in view of the gravity of the intelligence received the argument is that they had to act fast. I question there was a long debate about due process in a kidnapping situation that has led to the death of two innocent people, however I now understand that there was probably a better way to resolve the crisis and there are lessons to be learnt by all governments going forward. Italy is simply requesting clarity on the operation which is essential in trying to understand what truly occurred, because there are many conflicting reports of what happened and we all want to know what really happened.

UK Elite Special Boat Service and Nigerian Army lead the rescue effort. Nigerian intelligence and execution with foreign assistance could not save the two innocent victims. This is an opportunity for Italian and British forces to lend technical expertise in these matters to the Nigerian government on a continuous basis.

Boko Haram on Friday stated that this was not their work, and they do not deny when they strike. It is speculated that a Boko Haram splinter group responsible for this kidnapping is something which could potentially lead to a domino effect of insecurity. Expatriates therefore need the help of their governments on this matter to feel safe in the country; Diplomacy needs to translate into action steps. The Nigerian and foreign governments need to be equipped because unlike the kidnapping trends which occurred in the Delta where the motivation was money, in this scenario there is no clarity on the demands of the group involved in the kidnapping. Countries are unable to manage terrorism within and a global effort is required to illuminate issues and provide ‘best effort’ methods to reduce recurrence of hostage taking and the inciting of fear in the expatriate community.

British correspondence links this occurrence to the uprising of the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa that kidnaps and extracts ransom payments to fund its violence. However this does not seem to be the case in this scenario because:

  • The kidnapping was kept outside public view;
  • No ransom was requested for 9 months;
  • A large amount of cash was not taken from the apartment when the kidnapping occurred (reported by This Day 13 May 2011).

There can be no real solutions conferred until the situation is fully understood, if the motivation was not money, what was it- FEAR? Or was it the involvement of foreigners in the building of a centre of Capitalism, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)?

The hallmark of terrorism is the germination of a culture of FEAR. We cannot quantify fear, however we can quantify the level of impoverishment in the region where these men were held hostage? Perhaps we need to PAY for a culture of VIGILANCE to counteract the growth and spread of FEAR. Let us encourage those in Northern Nigeria to come forward and ‘tell’ and report any suspicious activity, even if we indeed to motivate them by money to come forward…


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