AFRICA/NIGERIA - "British-born Adebolajo is not a Nigerian": the Nigerian community in London react

Friday, 24 May 2013

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The Nigerian press is giving prominence to the murder of British soldier which took place on May 22 in the London area of Woolwish, by two people carrying weapons. The first identified killer, Michael Adebolajo, was born in Great Britain of Nigerian descent, and according to Digital Journal, comes from the Yoruba communities of southwestern Nigeria. He is of Christian family origin (according to Digital Journal was very likely educated middle class evangelical) but Adebolajo then converted to Islam and started attending meetings of Al muhajiroun, an islamist group.
An article published by the newspaper "Nigerian Tribune" highlights the reactions of Nigerians both at home and especially of those who are part of the large Nigerian community living in London. Several respondents complained that the British media insists on presenting the killer as "Nigerian" when he is instead a British subject in all respects.
"Is Barack Obama a Kenyan or an American?" Writes a reader. "Please let us do all we can to drop this tag. "Adebolajo is a British, he is not one of us." "Last summer - writes another reader - a gentleman (Anthony Joshua) won the Olympic medal. He was well celebrated and it took a lot of us quite sometime to know that Anthony was a English-born of Nigerian descent. Also Philips Idowu, a Nigerian, won silver for the United Kingdom at the last Olympics, likewise Christine Ohuruogu and others won gold medals for Uk, but they were not referred to then as Nigerian."
"The Woolwich killer has no ties to our beloved Country (..). He was not born a Muslim. It may have siblings who are not Muslims. He changed his religion in the UK. His conversion was in the UK. He probably has a British passport as well. " "Trying to blame the actions of a few on an entire race, country or religion is not only petty, it is hypocritical and unethical. Stop demonizing people, races and religions there are only good people and bad people," concludes a reader, who in this way gives voice to the concern of the Nigerian community in London that fears violent reactions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/05/2013)