Why U.S added Nigeria, Nigerians to terrorism risk list; U.S official speaks to USAfricaonline.com
The U.S Transportation Security Administration says that beginning today January 4, 2010: “passengers flying into the United States from certain countries will be subject to enhanced screening techniques, such as body scans and pat-downs.” The order includes the requirement that “all passengers on U.S.-bound international flights will be subject to random screening.”
This has been issued against the background of the December 25, 2009 plot and actions by 23-year old Nigerian Farouk Abdul Mutallab to blow up a plane entering Detroit airport.
Nigeria is, already, taking issues with the order. Nigeria’s information minister Dora Akunyili is arguing that the latest TSA decision on Nigeria and 14 other countries is faulty. “It is unfair to include Nigeria on the U.S list for tighter screening because Nigerians do not have terrorist tendencies…. It is unfair to discriminate against over 150 million people because of the behaviour of one person.”
But a U.S national security official in Washington DC informed USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu that “the U.S is not engaging in a random decision. This is a clear, urgent response to the realities of the relationships the young Nigerian man AbdulMutallab had with al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, and possibly elsewhere….”
Detroit lawyer Miriam Siefer, the chief counsel of the Federal Defender Office in Detroit, will represent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. His parents and some siblings are expected to witness his trial/arraignment, scheduled for Detroit on January 8, 2010.
Meanwhile, Nigerians across the world continue to express their condemnation of the alleged acts by AbdulMutallab. Many of them basically argued across USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360@yahoogroups e-group blog: it is difficult enough for the reputation of Nigerians being seen (by some) as a base for scam and con men/women and will get worse with the latest addition of the global scar of terrorism.
While the American security agencies and officials focus on the scope and implications of the AbdulMutallab failed plot, many Nigerians have been quick to dismiss the Mutallab event as an action of one young man who was largely raised outside Nigeria.