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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today News Updates of America and Nigeria

US charges Nigerian suspect over plane bomb plot

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
January 07 2010 : A US grand jury has indicted Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on six counts over an alleged plot to bomb a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day.

“A liberal Christian, from the southern part of Nigeria” was how a relation leaving for the United States of America tonight said he would introduce himself to the US immigration officials. If they wish to know, he said he intended to also let the Americans know his baptismal name, Jeremiah, even if it does not appear on his passport. Anything that would remove the suspicion of being remotely connected to religious fundamentalism, he said, he would be willing to do, just to get through the US airport and transact his business for a few days in one piece.

Without doubt, my cousin is not alone in this anxious moments by many Nigerians who have genuine reasons to visit America. Every traveller wants to avoid being caught up in the tension that air travellers are being confronted with in the light of the decision by the US Transportation Security Administration to group Nigeria among countries whose nationals visiting the US will henceforth face tougher screening.

What amounts to a blacklist in diplomatic circles of course stemmed from the Christmas Day foiled attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar AbdulMutallab, to detonate an explosive on a passenger aircraft on which he was travelling to the US from Amsterdam.

Many people have misunderstood the precise categorisation of Nigeria. To be fair, America has not described us as a state sponsor of terror. For now, only Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran are in that expanded ‘axis of evil,’ in the reckoning of the US government. We have only been listed alongside Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen as a “security risk state” which America would closely monitor, with a view to protecting its citizens and interests.

Neither list is good for any country‘s image though. But before one wonders why North Korea is not listed, or why Britain, for the sins of its ‘shoe bomber,’ Richard Reid, does not appear on the list of countries where America has special interest to curtail terrorism, the sole reason Nigeria has suddenly become a target comes down to Mutallabism.

I imagine that if a code would be used in the US intelligence service to justify our inclusion in this odious list, it would not just be because a British-trained young Nigerian engineer got brainwashed in London and Yemen to carry out a terrorist act, but because ours is a land of many souls, more than half of whom are Muslims living largely in an area where extreme religious views, from Maitatsine to Boko Haram and lately, Kala Kato in Bauchi, strayed in once in a while, leaving sorrow, tears and blood on their trail.

But in a country of 140 million people, this single profiling would amount to a shot wide off the mark.

It is, indeed, very likely that AbdulMutallab got indoctrinated by the warped argument that as an unwanted ‘aggressor’ in some Islamic countries in the Middle East, namely Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and with an unwavering support for Israel against Palestine, the US government has courted the enmity of some people in the Arab nations. This has always been the central principle in al-Qaeda‘s reactionary an-eye-for-an-eye doctrine.

But at the point that AbdulMutallab succumbed to the brainwashing to rise in defence of the oppressed brothers in “occupied territories,” he was not there as a Nigerian or a representative of the Nigerian State. He was there, apparently, as one who had bonded with that violent principle, essentially out of personal conviction, and perhaps on the strength of his religious affinity.

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