- West Africa
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- Diplomacy - Terrorism
U.S. issued ultimatum to drop Nigeria from terror list
The Nigerian government has given the United States government seven days to remove its name from the terror list of nations. Senate Spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, at a briefing with Senate correspondents on behalf of Senate President David Mark, yesterday, told reporters that the Senate would on resumption next Tuesday take a definite position should the American authorities refuse to take Nigeria off the terror list.
Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, yesterday, summoned the American Ambassador, Ms. Robin Sanders, to express the government’s displeasure over the terror list.
According to reports, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mike Aondoakaa, said Nigeria will officially demand that the United States remove its name from a terrorism flight watch list. While condemning the U.S. action, the Nigerian House of Representatives also argued that America’s Home Land Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Federal Bureau for Investigations, FBI and other security agencies in the United States were culpable in the incident.
“I am speaking on behalf of the Senate and on behalf of the Senate President to state categorically that we are very unhappy about the development and when we resume we are going to take this matter up seriously if America has not taken Nigeria off that list. We also want to advise America that it is in their own best interest to conduct this matter very well in a manner that will not result into diplomatic row between America and Nigeria because the American president had himself clearly admitted that this was a failure of the system and manpower of Americans and I don’t see where Nigeria comes in there," Senator Ayogu Eze is quoted as saying.
Syringe bomber an outsider
On christmas day 2009, 23-year-old Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, educated and radicalized in Britain, attempted to blow up a U.S plane on 25 Dec. 2009, in Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan. The Nigerian Information Minister Professor Dora Akunyili argued that: "Abdulmutallab was not influenced in Nigeria, he was not recruited or trained in Nigeria, he was not supported whatsoever in Nigeria. It is unfair to discriminate against 150 million people because of the behavior of one person. The boys behavior is not reflective of Nigeria and should therefore not be used as a yardstick to judge all Nigerians."
After police in Britain worked closely with U.S. investigators to uncover the full background to the incident they named Nigeria as one of the state sponsors of terror; a laughable conclusion according to many Nigerians.
According to Senator Ayogu Eze: “It is clearly established that the terror suspect has no link with any fundamentalist group or any interest group within Nigeria, not even with his parents. This was a boy whose disappearance was reported to security agencies, the American authorities, and all the relevant authorities and the Americans did nothing and for them to turn round to punish Nigerians for the sin of an isolated case like this is completely unacceptable to the Nigerian government and to the Nigerian Senate."
“I think that it will be most unfair given the kind of relationship that has existed between America and Nigeria for America to jump to this kind of conclusion without even adequate consultations with the authorities in Nigeria. This is not acceptable to us and we are going to do whatever we can as a nation to prove to America that we will not take this."
“We are going to engage all our diplomatic gear to ensure that we either have relationship with America or we don’t. We believe that America is a mature country, it is the model of democracy, all of us looked up to it and it has enjoyed very smooth and cordial diplomatic relationship with Nigeria. Nigeria has never been found wanting in her dealings with America."
“So, for them to embarrass this country with this kind of classification for no justification is completely unacceptable. It is not America alone that has citizens to whom the government is responsible, we also have citizens and we are responsible for them, we will not allow Nigerians to be molested wherever they go," Sentor Eze added.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, also cited a Briton, Richard Reid, the infamous “shoe bomber” convicted of trying to blow up a Paris-Miami flight in 2001, saying: “If the American authorities could not add Britain … to the list of countries of interest, then there is no reason to include Nigeria. We may be deeply religious, but certainly we are no suicide bombers or terrorists.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa, however, declared that the US “will rescind that decision because Nigeria is not a terrorist country and a single incident that involves a Nigerian cannot criminalize all Nigerians.”
As a demonstration of the government’s non-compromising stance on terrorism, the Nigerian government has ordered 30 full body scanners for the nation’s airport.