Monday, January 4, 2010

In the Wake of the Undie Bomber

As many had feared, the US government has now added Nigeria to the list countries of terrorists, following the failed attempt by the would-be Undie Bomber, Farouk AbdulMutallab to bring down the Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day.

Come to think of it. Because of the action of this young man who, by all accounts, had contacts with Yemenis who allegedly equipped him with the bomb he was to detonate on that flight, all Nigerians are now made to pay for his sins. No one has come up with any account of collaboration between the Undie Bomber and ANY OTHER NIGERIAN in his dastardly act; no one has claimed that he got his weapon from Nigeria, or that he hatched his plot inside Nigeria. Instead, news reports indicate that he came into Nigeria from Ghana just before his flight out of Lagos. Prior to this time, he lived outside of Nigeria; and it is because his family had lost contact with him (News from Nigeria indicate he might have even denounced his family not too long ago), that Muttalab Senior went to the American Embassy/CIA to seek their help in locating his son...

All of this is to say that punishing all Nigerians--indeed subjecting them to the kind of treatment now prescribed for people from the so-called security-risk, former axis-of-evil, countries, simply because the Undie Bomber carried a Nigerian passport, smacks of another knee-jerk, discriminatory response by the US government.

If the singular act of the Undie Bomber is enough to now profile all Nigerians, one might ask how come all Britons were not treated as potential terrorists after Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber) failed to destroy the American Airlines Miami-bound Flight 63 in December 2001? Unlike AbdulMutallab, Reid, seems to have hatched his plan with help from British and European citizens. Yet Mr. Reid was presented as a terrorist who happened to be British, while his compatriots were not made to suffer for his criminal act. Now compare that with the serious bashing Nigeria--a country of 140 million people that have, until the Undie Bomber, not shown any particular tendency toward the kind of terroristic acts they must now prove that they do not collectively condone or actively support--is getting from the US media.

Nigerians may rank high on the 419 scale or in the Medicare Insurance fraud schemes, but relatively speaking, it has not produced more al qaeda-style "terrorists" than the United States or Britain. So someone should give my green passport a break!

Aah, right. I get it. Finally. Nigerians are being punished with the full body search and secondary screenings at the airports because they can't seem to find their President who has gone MIA since late November 2009. Didn't they say he is somewhere in Saudi Arabia!? Now, I need the US Embassy, Abuja phone number.

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