Is Nigeria a Terrorist Haven? Part 2

Continued from HERE

NIGERIA’S MANY SINS

The countries on the List are an odd and eclectic bunch. Not all of them have overt links with terrorist organisations or pose security risks to the U.S. Cuba has a lot more to gripe about than Nigeria. Cuba is an odd choice as a “state sponsor of terror”. I cannot recall the last time a Cuban tried to blow up a plane, embassy or skyscraper. The irony of Cuba being on the List, is that one of the most serious acts of attempted terror between Cuba and America occurred when the U.S. tried to murder the Cuban head of state. The presence of Cuba and Nigeria on the List demonstrates that the U.S. has used the Mutallab affair as a pretext to get even with countries that it has long standing historical grievances against. The Cubans and the Americans have been at each other’s throats for decades, with the Americans seething about a little communist country setting up shop on their doorstep and looking them in the eye.

However, Nigeria has been a continual pain in the backside for foreign nations for years. It has exported a steady stream of drug couriers, 419 confidence tricksters and immigration cheats. At one point, 50% of drug couriers arrested at JFK airport in New York were Nigerians. That’s right, of the eight billion citizens on Earth from hundreds of countries, ONE country managed to supply half the drug couriers going to New York. The London Metropolitan Police has a department exclusively dedicated to dealing with Nigerian 419 scams. Yes, the police force of the United Kingdom has a specialist department dedicated exclusively to combating crime committed exclusive by nationals from one foreign country. This would be the equivalent of the NPF being so inundated with criminals from Botswana, that they have no choice but to create an anti-Botswana crime department. Many Western countries have been scratching their heads for years, trying to find a way to single Nigerians out for “special treatment” without exposing themselves to accusations of racism. So Mutallab’s attempted bombing has played straight into their hands and given the Americans a fantastic opportunity to harass, search and deal with those pesky Nigerians that keep trying to cheat, lie, steal and traffic drugs into their country.

NIGERIA – LAND OF RELIGIOUS AMBIVALENCE

As well as allowing the Americans to get their pound of flesh from Nigeria for its past sins, the Mutallab affair has also exposed Nigeria’s religious ambivalence. Nigeria has become victim to its dithering, and shades of grey over the relationship between religion and the state. Nigerians bleat from the rooftops that Nigeria is a “secular” nation. However when a Nigerian citizen tries to detonate a bomb over American airspace, Americans suddenly remember that 12 states (i.e. one third of the states in the Nigerian federation) have Sharia law. They might also remember that Nigerian women in Sharia states have been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery (remember Amina Lawal?). Yes, the sentence was not carried out, but it was passed – that is all that matters to the black and white American psyche. The American mind does not process shades of grey and is biased against countries with large Muslim populations.

AMERICA – LAND OF BLACK AND WHITE

Remember the Sharia riots, the Miss World riots, and Boko Haram uprising? Just a few months a ago, an Islamic group named Boko Haram whose raison d’etre was that Western education should be abolished in Nigeria, led a serious armed insurrection in which over 700 people (at conservative estimates) were killed. Boko Haram members were found in possession of deadly weapons like rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 machine guns, bows, arrows, and petrol bombs. Some of its members confessed that they received military training in Afghanistan, and were proficient in bomb making. Before Boko Haram, the Maitatsine riots in Kano in December 1980 killed at least 4,000 people. To keep this in perspective, the 1980 riots alone claimed more lives that the September 11 attack in the U.S. which involved crashing 4 planes, and reducing the two tallest skyscrapers in New York City to rubble.

Nigerians are simply burying their heads in the sand by stating that the country does not have a problem with weaponised religious fundamentalism. The only difference is that before December 25, 2009, the religious radicalism has been localised within Nigeria’s borders. To understand how the Americans feel right now, consider the following scenario:

….If a foreigner from a country where one third of its states are subject to Sharia law, which just experienced a massive religion inspired armed rebellion which overwhelmed the police, and where the assailants were well armed enough to attack and overrun police stations and army barracks, behead clergy men, slash the throats of civilians, and could only be overwhelmed when the army (an instrument of war) was called out to use high calibre weapons to shell them, flatten their compound, summarily execute their members and pound them to dust….would you allow people from such a country to enter Nigeria without extra scrutiny?

To understand how messy Nigeria appears to the Americans right now. Consider the following scenario. After finding out about the Mutallab attack, President Obama probably had a conversation with his advisers. The conversation might have gone something like this:

Obama: “Get President Yar’Adua on the hotline.”

Adviser: “You can’t talk to him right now. He is currently abroad receiving medical treatment.”

Obama: “Oh shucks. Where is he? Let’s see if we can reach him at the hospital where he is being treated.”

Adviser: “Let me look up his hospital phone number in Saudi Arabia.”

Obama: “Saudi Arabia? ….say isn’t that the country where nearly 80% of the 9/11 hijackers came from?”

Adviser: “Yes – THAT Saudi Arabia.”

Obama: “Ok, let’s not disturb him at the hospital. Let’s call the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. I believe his name is Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi (rtd).”

Adviser: “Errr…Sir, we can’t do that. He was recalled.”

Obama: “Why?”

Adviser: “Because he made some offensive remarks that offended a demographic of Nigerians. He is a veteran of the Nigerian army and made some comments about the people he fought during the Nigerian civil war, several decades after the protagonists forgave each other, moved on, and agreed that there was ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’.”

Obama: “Oh, ok. Has he been replaced? Surely the Nigerians must have sent someone to replace him?”

Adviser: “Err…yes they did.”

Obama: “What’s the matter now?”

Adviser: “Well his replacement Tunde Adeniran was rejected. His son was arrested for alleged involvement in a gang-rape……”

Written by
Max Siollun
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