By all definitions and with whatever measuring standard, Nigeria is not a terrorist nation. Anybody or any government that think otherwise is only exhibiting a fallacy of judgment.
However, decoding or delabeling Nigeria from the U.S list of “group of terrorist nations” does not imply that Nigeria have not been a victim of terrorism. In fact its citizens have suffered many attacks and have been terrorized by its political leaders and government. The citizens taste of terror was dated back to the first and second republic when members of the opposition political parties or proponents of opposing political views were targeted, deported, maligned and sometimes assassinated.
Various regimes had forced series of terror pills through the throats of Nigerians. The difference was in degree and color. For instance the three military regimes that preceded the democratic era coercively compelled the population to live in a culture of silence. Human Rights activities were repressively curtailed. Advocates of change were not tolerated and incessantly declared missing without trace. Citizens psyche and defense mechanism were manipulated to complacence. The spirit of nationalism and love to see a strong, viable, and one Nigeria extinct and paved way to terror activities in form of kidnapping, religious crisis, crisis of emancipation as epitomized by the Niger Delta struggle etc.
As if that is not enough, Nigeria Police Force, whose “middle” name can be correctly tagged “terror” not because they were trained by Al-Qaeda or because they were recruited in Yemen; but because they have conveniently manipulated the instrument of state with which they were supposed to maintain sanity, laws and order to harass, oppress, intimidate and sometimes annihilate the innocent citizens. Nigerian Police is ubiquitously, corrupt, inept, under-trained, under equipped and under paid. Second to them are the marauders. They take advantage of the poor status of the Nigeria Police Force and confidently invade their victims and cart away their belongings, leaving them with monumental loss, wounds and sorrow.
Despite this frustrating and sad experience, the Nigerians are reasonable human beings, hard working, hospitable and God fearing. These three virtues have consistently sharpens the lives and life styles of Nigerians. In spite of their hard working nature and the presence of abundant mineral resources, they surfer unparalleled oppression and exploitation from their political leaders and government; yet the hope of a better tomorrow championed by their faith kept them going. Quite unlike the western world, where little problem and challenges regress their citizens into depression and sometimes suicide. Nigerians love life. No Nigerian, sane or insane would willfully choose suicide as an option to address his/her situation or protest a challenging circumstance.
That is why the action and intention of the 23 years old Umar Farouk AbdulMutallib -a London based and breed son of a Nigerian wealthy family could not be addressed solely from Nigeria cultural focal point. Don’t get me wrong. My intention is not to denationalize Umar as a Nigerian, rather I want to see his action as a bile product of an assimilated sub culture that were acquired through multiple culture contacts; especially from his religious affiliation and activities while at the University College of London. I want to explain his action in relationships to his socio-religious and family background, mindful of the fact that though he is a Nigerian by birth his life, upbringing and global networking has always been outside Nigeria.
The father disclosed that this truant deviated from the purpose for which he was sent to college and opted for a foolish agenda that was clandestinely packaged in studying Arabic and Sharia Law at Yemen. What the father failed to disclose but equally important are the circumstances through which Umar Farouk lives his life before this uneventful attempt to unleash terror on America Airline Flight # 253 that have about 278 innocent individuals and family members on board from Amsterdam en route Detroit- Michigan in the early hour of Christmas day.
Though media reported that he lives in a building that worth Four million pounds in London – A house that was purportedly owned by his father. Equally pertinent is the information such as the type of relationship that exists between Umar and his parent. What type of child is he- happy, sad, angry or depressed? Who are the parent’s acquaintances? What is the ‘color’ of his family’s faith (Liberal or fanatics)? Who are his childhood friends? Who are his siblings and what is the extent of his influence on them? Who are his pals across the globe? What does he do at his leisure time? What are his hobbies? Since he was saddled with the responsibility to ‘spend down’ part of the father’s possibly ill-gotten wealth, has the father ever taken the time to audit him, if only to know how and with whom he had been spending the money and where? This among others will provide credible insight into the true personality of Umar and the rationale for his terror orientation and affiliation. It would expose the level of his religious insurgency, his cohorts including trainers, mentors, and possibly other pending criminal/terror plans.
Umar Farouk’s action is quite un-Nigerian. While I am not attempting to abhor Nigeria from deviant criminal behaviors, I make bold to say unequivocally clear that not all Nigerians are criminal or criminal minded. There are still many of us who are honest, responsible and reliable. It is therefore morally wrong and conventionally unacceptable for the United States Government to placard Nigeria as a terrorist country and crush its dignity because of the action of this insignificant human nonentity.
The United States have the right to determine who enters its country and the nationals of which nations should be de-humanly scrutinized at the US point of entry. Its history of classifying countries into “axis of evil” or “agents of terror” with the self acclaimed title of the Sheriff of the world not withstanding, this decision is geared towards maintaining world peace by preventing anarchy or ideological and religious sponsored terror. While targeted countries such as Iran, Sudan, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Yemen met the preponderance criteria for terror, categorizing Nigeria in the same clout is an aberration and abnormal.
If the France was not labeled a terrorist state despite the thwarted effort of Richard Colvin Reid – a French citizen who attempted to bomb the America Airline Flight #63 from Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris through shoes that was laced with explosives in December 12, 2001.
If the United Kingdom was not labeled a terrorist nation in 2006 as a result of the attempt of Ahmed Abdullah, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Oliver Savat, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Umar Islam and Muhammed Gulzarar (all British citizens) during a Trans-Atlantic Aircraft plot to detonate liquid explosives
If Kuwait was not labeled a terrorist nation despite Ramzi Youseff attempted effort to blow Boeing 747-283B that was on its second leg flew from Cebu to Tokyo on December 11, 1994.
The Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing was a terrorist attack by Palestinian Hamas group on June 1, 2001 in which suicide bomber (Saeed Hotari) blew himself up outside a discotheque on a beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel killing 21 teenagers and injuring32 others, but the American government was able to discern and separated Hamas group from the Palestine.
If the state of Texas is not singled out as a terrorist state because of the actions of Major Nidal Malik of the Fort Hood Military Base who opened fire on his colleagues in uniform as a result of his bias and extreme religious beliefs.
If the United States is not labeled a terrorist state as a result of the
actions and intentions of 5 of its citizens who were found in Pakistan with the intention to enlist and undergo jihad /Al-Qaeda training; why then did the America government made haste to classify Nigeria as a terrorist country? Is this a sign of double standard, ambivalence or hypocracy?
If need be, let President Obama, the Secretary of States- Hillary Clinton and the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs be reminded that; In September 11, 2001 during the terror attack, Nigeria government was one of the first countries of the world to condemn the dastard act of such religious extremity and commiserate with the USA government. Nigeria has always play its role as a peace loving nation and has supported and participated in different peace keeping operations within and outside Africa continent – a phenomenon that have earned the country international recognition and commendation from the United Nations. The country is a signatory to 9 out of 16 United Nations instruments on counter terrorism dealing with associated issues such as money laundering, drug trafficking, crime, and nuclear terrorism.
In a further attestation to the Nigerians love for peace and their willingness to sacrifice for same, some of them who are resident alien/citizens of the United States enlisted in the USA army and other military formations and have been severally deployed to different countries of the world putting their life on -course to fight for world peace.
In the final analysis while Dora Akunyili (Minister for Information) is diligently attempting to rebrand the country (though her approach appeared eccentric), it need be said that such effort is essentially an intra country agenda. Therefore the United States Government should refrain from this 21st Century costly political joke that logged Nigeria into the committee of terror; after all this is not April first.