Monday, December 28, 2009

When the spate of kidnappings began in the Niger Delta, Nigerians could disassociate from the expatriates being kidnapped. When the kidnapping sprees became a full fledged 'cottage industry' of sorts, Nigerians, collectively, wrote it off as something that only happened to wealthy Nigerians. When Boko Haram wrought havoc across the northern part of the country in an effort to achieve its radicalized Muslim ideas, the full fledged discourse necessary to address, analyze and solve that problem failed to fully materialize. And now, as a Nigerian has been identified as the alleged terrorist that attempted to blow up an aircraft, on Christmas Day, will Nigerians once again opt to disassociate from the matters at hand and fail to tackle the obvious realities that must be addressed?

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab reportedly tells the FBI to expect more bombers like him.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a KLM flight in Lagos, Nigeria, (originally arriving from Ghana), connecting in Amsterdam on his way to Detroit, Michigan. The 23 year old Abdulmutallab, allegedly the son of an elite northern Nigerian banker, has been charged with attempting to explode a device over the continental United States. His father apparently warned the U.S. government of his son's radicalization. The younger Abdulmutallab lived in a luxury apartment in London and before his failed terror attempt, was allegedly groomed in Yemen to become a radical monster.

Despite the growing facts that continue to be revealed about this story, some Nigerians continue to argue amongst themselves that Abdulmutallab is not really Nigerian, because no Nigerian wants to die. Others assert that no Nigerian is interested in waiting for his 72 virgins in Allah's heaven. Regardless of these theories, the reality is that Abdulmutallab is in fact a Nigerian, and he did detonate an incendiary device on an airplane carrying 278 people. Alas, although his acts were those of one man, supported by others who will be hopefully be determined by the appropriate authorities, this incident is another blemish on the Nigerian reputation already put asunder by corrupt and unaccountable government officials, so-called 'Princes' selling wealth in online schemes of greed, Hollywood/South African films and a host of other factors. But, most importantly, it is Nigerians themselves who must overwhelmingly state that the "buck stops here" - with each individual. Abdulmutallab and other radical Nigerian Muslims are a product of a society that fuels rage and dissatisfaction. It just so happened that this instrument of terror was a rich child, which is understandable because a less connected or wealthy Nigerian would have been unable to get the travel documents necessary to attempt such an act. But, Boko Haram is a clear and recent reminder of what poverty, lack of adequate education or options ( both not a factor in Abdulmutallab's case), brainwashing and Islamic radicalization, and rich northern elites financing such endeavors can accomplish in little time.

Consequently, Nigerians must not forget the recent daunting figures that there are approximately 10 million child beggars of northern decent currently living miserable existences in a nation that supplies the world oil. These children, someday, could be rife for the murderous philosophies Abdulmutallab fell for, and he came from a wealthy northern elite family. That is a possibility that Nigerians must not allow to come to pass. And when one considers that additionally incredible numbers that 23mn of the nation's youths are currently unemployable, unemployment stands at 28.57%,, schools are repeatedly on strike, basic amenities (reliable light, clean water, etc) are hard to come by and the nation's leaders (its missing President included) prefer to spend the people's money traveling to the tune of N2.7 billion, Nigerians should not simply be troubled, or call on God for help. They should be upset, upset enough to collectively prevent their representatives from leaving the National Assembly without producing concrete results that are meaningful and measurable. As such, Nigerians must begin to make demands of their government to satisfy the role of a government and not deter/derail honest, hardworking citizens' efforts to improve the nation, as is currently the case.

Since news broke about the "Nigerian Terrorist", not a single Nigerian official has taken to the international airways to publicly address the incident and provide a voice to counterbalance the information shared by the media and growing anti-Nigerian sentiment. The government, however, has issued an official statement reacting to the incident, specifying,
"The Federal Government of Nigeria received with dismay the news of attempted terrorist attack on a U.S. airline. We state very clearly that as a nation, we abhor all forms of terrorism. The Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has directed Nigerian security agencies to commence full investigation of the incident. [O]ur security agencies will cooperate fully with the American authorities in the on-going investigations. Nigerian government will be providing updates as more information becomes available.” [sic]
The attempted terrorist attempt occurred on December 25th, and as at the time of this publication, 2 days had passed. Those are two days that could have been used to begin damage control. Nevertheless, it is not too late to achieve that goal and salvage the nation's reputation. Nigerians need to know that their government is addressing the incident and of course, the world would like to know how the Nigerian government and people will prevent a recurrence - questions that the government is obviously better suited to answer. As noted above N2.7 billion was spent by Maduekwe to give the nation "visibility", and if ever there was a time Nigeria needed some positive visibility, it would be now. Add to this the disappearance of Nigeria's President Yar'Adua since November 23rd, 2009 and the fact that Nigeria is working on rebranding its image. As such, there is no more time for the usual delay tactics historically employed by the Nigerian government when faced with challenges.

Nigerians cannot continue to be passive as their nation, its image, and its people continue to fall apart and succumb to pressures that produce a level of inhumanity and insanity that is absolutely unacceptable. It would be redundant to state that Abdulmutallab's terrorist attempt has unfairly complicated the lives of Nigerians and other nationals attempting international travel. Regardless, it puts a spotlight on the need for Nigerians to address and solve militancy, violent kidnappings, corruption, radicalization and the many home grown factors that contribute to them. Additionally, Nigerians themselves cannot simply disassociate from the realities of poverty, northern child beggars and other issues that require a national discourse. Finally, the Nigerian government must not be allowed to skate by without truly representing the people they are meant to serve as such unaccountability only feed the nation's enduring punishment problem and the continuing distrust that fuels tribal and religious violence. So will Nigerians again not address the issues staring them in the face? Only time will tell but now is the right time to no longer tolerate the problems that are poisoning a nation and its future.

* Nigerian Curiosity condemns the terrorist attempt by Abdulmutallab and whoever he worked in concert with.

Please read 'Is Nigeria A Breeding Ground For Terrorism'(May 2007).

From The Archives:
- America Speaks...Does Nigeria Respond?
- How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot With Al Qaeda
- 23mn Of Nigeria's Youth Are Unemployable
- War in the Delta

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26 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

NneomaMD said...

You hit the nail on the head. One point that I failed to mention on my NigeriansTalk post was that that in countries which are prone to producing terrorists are also countries in which a large number of its populace find some justification for terrorists attacks (let me know if you need the source...can't think of it off the top of my head now). For example, when pirating hit the US media, K'Naan wrote an article entitled, Why Somalians Don't Condemn their Pirates. When Ushang, the youth corper, was raped and murdered, some found justification in the idea that she indeed was dressed inappropriately (standard youth corper dress).
Nigeria is no stranger to acts of terror, as evidenced by the numerous religious riots we have had in the past...international acts of terror is relatively new. However, for reasons that you have mentioned and others - particularly political instability - Nigeria may become the new frontier for such acts seeing that we have the capital and interest (radicalization of Muslim youths) to do so. Like other events of similar magnitude, I don't see this trend as being nipped in the bud just yet.

CodLiverOil said...

Nigerian Curiosity.
You are right when you said that Nigerians fail to tackle issues. No doubt, not alot will come from this episode.

I have noticed this amongst my family members and in the wider Nigerian society at large.

Although, I'm not adept with the security operations of the state. The fact that Boko Haram could spring up and challenge the state authority, without a finger being lifted beforehand to prevent this and the unreliable security which is apparent at the country's ports and airports (not to mention towns and cities), coupled with an indisciplined and corrupt officials. Should mean that this and other developments (yet to come), are indicators that the government agencies are not working.

You are right the Nigerian public choose to look the other way or dissociate themselves when criminal acts committed by Nigerians occur. This is a sheer waste of time and is an easy way out. Foreigners don't have time to split hairs to care if you are from the North , South, or South-South, South-East, South-West, North Central zones etc. You are black and a Nigerian, period that is all most of them (foreigners) know or want to know. Pointing fingers and casting aspersions about one part of the country or another solves nothing and only encourages division and inherent in division is weakness. (Nigeria is already a weak country that continues to lose strength)


Dissociating yourself from the problem doesn't solve it, it remains and will only get worse. You have already highlighted the lack of security.(Yet in spite of this people are talking about encouraging tourism in such an atmosphere... doesn't make much sense to me). This dissociation doesn't just end there.

The failure for society in general to tackle the issues of corruption, revenue allocation, jobs, accountability, making the critical organs of society function adequately like utilities and education are all ignored. Those who can afford it dissociate themselves by utilising what others have developed in foreign lands ie education and healthcare systems to name but a few.

You say the image of the country has to be salvaged. Nigeria's image is little better than that of Pakistan's. They are known for corruption and have now moved into the field of state terrorism and now international terrorism. They have a poor reputation. Nigeria's is little better.

How can the name of the country be redeemed? It wont happen over-night that's for sure.

The state bodies are not viewed as capable partners by their international counter-parts. A wholescale re-examination and assessment and plan of action are required at all levels of society.

People have to embrace problems. When the child-witch story of Akwa-Ibom broke, I heard that the senate in Abuja, hardly raised an eye-browe, because Akwa-Ibom is not their problem (is it not part of the federation?). Similarly, those in the South will say the Almajiri in the North aren't their problem either. With such selfish and unproductive attitudes, the problems will only get worse and sooner or later these problems will become everyone's problem. But co-operation, and a willingness to accept correction are lacking and so the problems persist.

Those in a position to make change have to create a viable and appealing future for the youth of the country or else the current problems will only reach a breaking point.

Beauty said...

10 million child beggars and 23 million of the nation's youths unemployable will no doubt produce more Abdulmutallabs. Just watch us create a future hero and what sad future in store for other Nigerians and the rest of the world. OBJ famously ignored those "bunch of hooligans" trouble that has now become a major force in the Niger-Delta. This is as high profile as it will get and those ignorant fools in government should simply, just go. This is not about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab but about the tens of thousands feasting in the cesspit Nigeria.

CodLiverOil said...

The case of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab, though not your every day, run of the mill almajiri. Is still cause for concern. This only shows that the problems of Nigerian society need to be tackled at all levels not simply the poor and downtrodden masses, this should also include the middle class and the highly rarefied atmosphere of the well-to-do elite from which Abdulmuttallab comes from. In essence, it is everyone's problem.

Anonymous said...

Alqueda is a foriegn organisation , the would be Delta airlines bomber spent the last 10 years of his life in British institutions outside Nigeria his last known address was in the UK , Boko Haram leaders where ex top government officials who were using religion to try and regain power .
when its an athlete or a pop star its nigerian born british ..... well in this case i think lets call a spade a spade abdulmuttallab was a Nigerian born British Trained terrorist.

The trouble in the Niger Delta is totally distinct from this religious tom foolery

tickets to Nigeria said...

This is really serious matter for Nigeria. Nigeria economy is emerging and business from other countries are taking interest in the products of Nigeria, such things can also disturb number of flights to Nigeria.

imnakoya said...

Historically there have been native-born, 100% caucasian Americans who have turned against their country even in dire times. To see the emergence of Umar Abdulmutallab as result of the radicalizing influece in northern Nigeria is an incomplete assessment of the problems of Islamic extremism and international terrorism.

My wish is that the discussion should be more on the positive side -- what Umar's father did. How many fathers can come out and rat on their kid? Very few, and nobody is amplying this!

We have to tell our stories now that all eyes is on us as a potential terrorist state; not what is wrong, but what is great about this story.

Thank goodness for the Dutch hero and Umar's father! Many Nigerians would have gone into hiding by now in the United States.

Anonymous said...

I also wrote a post on this as well SolomonSydelle in which I also mentioned some of your posts. I throughly understand the point you were trying to convey. I absolutely would like to say that I agree with how the Nigerian officials should respond. Or shall I say when?

Its time for Nigeria to get to get off their seats and actually stand up and say something whether it is something good or bad. It is up for them to defend them selves.


beauty said...

Yes Dora, we are a great people but with rudderless leadership, how do you expect to get a great nation? 25/12/2009 as a day one to better things? I think not since too many already have their heads buried in the sand. Where is the President of Nigeria? Who is selflessly in charge? Was this a reason we failed Umar Farouk? How do we begin to reclaim our other children north and south? Its education, stupid!

Azazel said...

I love this writeup..
On point 100%..

NigeriaPolitricks.com said...

So much for re-branding Nigeria!....from 419ners to now terrorist. Nigeria we "hail thee"....one more feather has been added to your cap, Igweeee!
Seriously, the change of the nations name or the creation of ethinc nationalities...out of this corrupt contraption called Nigeria, seem like a viable alternative in curbing the damaged Nigerian image & stereotypes. However, for greater impact and in ensuring that Nigerian leaders actually stay home, develop and utilize our nations dilapidating infrastructure (let's say Yardua being in a hospital in Lagos or Abuja) and to better the lives of the ordinary citizenry, why not add the names of this comatose & ineffective president of Nigeria, along with his veepee, federal ministers, governors; both past and present, and also bank executives & oil sheiks, who've been feeding fat on the ill-gotten spoils of our nation resources, and all their wives, children and cuncbubines, on the US & European no-fly & t e r r o r i s t watch list?! That way, we can stop these criminal Nigerian leaders, their kids and wives that are globe-trotting all over the world on our nations stolen wealth while tarnishing Nigeria's image!!!

Myne said...

This is so well thought out and written, well done. I do think though that you used the wrong picture, the correct one is now on several sites.

Numusicstreet said...

This guy comes from a wealthy priviledged family lived in an expensive apartment in London and yet tried to blow up a plane on the alleged prompting of alqaeda if we accept the well known fact that Nigeria is a potential breeding ground for terrorism due the rampant corruption injustice and unemployment I am still baffled as to what this guy's underlying motivations were and would really like to hear what her has to say to justify his actions.

Was this just a case of brainwashing or were there other underlying reasons
Why go all the way to the U.S to attack an American Airline when there are so many corrupt past and present politicians in Nigeria that
continue to ruin the country.
Can we honestly blame the west for the present plight of our Nation and the fact that as an oil producing country blessed with untold resources Nigeria manages to squander it's wealth at an unprecedented rate
Or am l missing something here.
Na wa I Wonder

Anyway peace and God bless to all may the year 2010 be a better year for us all


N.I.M.M.O said...

Nigerian Curiosity indeed!

I am still amazed at the capacity of the Nigerian to identify with negativity even when it is none of his business!

So a Farouk Muttalab tried to blow up a US plane on Xmas day and Oh, by the way, the Farouk is a Nigerian.

What has that got to do with me?

Sincerely, nothing. (I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop sha).

Am I in denial?

No, I am not. It has absolutely nothing to do with me.

Wake me up when another Nigerian wins the Nobel Peace Prize or the Super Eagles win the World Cup.


@ NIMMO: will do =)

IDAYAT said...

I think I understand the point NIMMO made. Unfortunately, this time it has everything to do with me. Fact is I am a Nigerian and I am muslim, so I am affected. I cannot pretend to know what went on in Umar Farouq's mind so I refuse to go there.
As for the Nigerian official response, I wasn't expecting any so I am not surprised or worried. My heart however goes out to his family and I can't even imagine the pain his mother must be going through right now.

N.I.M.M.O said...

@SSD: Abi now? How for do?

@IDAYAT: Haba, what more can Nigeria do in this situation?

ALL Nigerians have condemned this barbaric act for what it is; in its entirety. (We have even rejected it in Jesus name. LOL!). This is one of the few times that Nigerians agree totally on an issue.

From the government, to the civil populace, religious leaders, students, artisans etc. We have stated that it is NOT Nigerian. In fact it negates the most Nigerian of all Nigerian characters - that inordinate love for life that makes it impossible for us to put our lives at stake for anything - with emphasis on ANYTHING talkless of a promise of only 72 virgins.

The FG has responded well to this issue and I daresay, I am proud of their response.

Q: Which kind of parent will resport his own child to the authorities just on suspicion of 'abnormal' behavior even without the child having done anything?

A: Only a Nigerian Father!

It is on record that Alhaji Muttalab had reported to the US authorities not to allow the boy fly into the US since Nov 19 but somehow, the US officials did not include his name in the 'no fly' list.

What more can Nigeria do?

It has also been revealed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had forwarded the list of passengers on that plane to the US authorities before the plane left Lagos as required by international law under the Advanced Information Systems (AIS) put in place since the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

The NCAA does not have the information (or the sophisticated equipment) that the Americans have and therefore could not have stopped the guy from boarding the plane in Lagos.

What about Amsterdam? Why wasn't the guy stopped there? Maybe we should accuse the Dutch of complicity in this too.

If the US could not act on a system they put in place by themselves, what more can Nigeria do?

It has also been revealed that the boy actually disowned the Nigerian part of his family about six months ago and left for Yemen, his mother's country from where he got the training to do what he tried to do. And the Yemeni Al Qaeda has also owned up to the act.

What more can Nigeria do?

As they say, he is Nigerian-born but not Nigerian-trained and he does not have that 'Naija' spirit. Besides, he is over 18 years of age and should be responsible for his actions and decisions.

Please, Nigeria cannot do more than it has done.

Omo Oba said...

Compliments of the season, y'all!

As always, SSD is right on.

It is my hope that Nigerians dont become victims of hate crimes esp. in the US - esp young Muslim Nigerian girls who have to cover their hair at school.

So....Political instability, unemployment, religious intolerance, lack of infrastructures, niger delta wahala etc etc...and now....(drumroll) - terrorism. As SSD said, we really can NO LONGER AFFORD TO BE COMPLACENT.

But makes you wonder when we talk about issues a country has - why not ZIMBABWE? - a country that is well...no longer a country, or is zim too far from the Mediterranean sea to breed terrorists? Why not SUDAN? Why not the DRC? To me, Nigeria is not exceptional in its share of political instability, unemployment, religious intolerance, cultural intolerance, etc etc. So why does Mutallab have to be Nigerian?

I guess the answer is the same answer to why our "Princes" fill up cybercafes in Lagos: When a nation as rich as Nigeria fails to harness its potentialssss...we will continually find ourselves represented as infamous international stars.

Ladybrille said...


I completely agree with your breakdown and analysis that in this case unlike others, there were steps taken by Nigerians prior to, to stop this potential attack by Farouk and truly, what more in this case could have been expected of Nigerians? They did their part.

Nevertheless, I also see NC/SSD's point. Too often there is a complacency among us when havoc like this occurs. In addition, most are not citing the reasons you gave. Instead, they cite the reasons SSD gave showing there is a need for a fundmental shift in thinking and how we address issues that affect our overall well being as a nation and people.

Anonymous said...

I may not be a Nigerian, but am certain one Nigerian is not the ambassador representative of the entire nation. I do believe good things does emerge out of this nation although some form of stigma is present for the season now. This will pass away soon:).

May Nigeria become a stronger country with better governance internally and handling of international affairs with wisdom and prudence increasingly.

Excellent laws will set the local culture in good standing for excellence.

webround said...

I agree with NIMMO's breakdown - the father and the Nigerian airport authority did what they were supposed to. However as SSD said, Nigerian government was MIA when it came to damage control, telling the whole world that we had done we could do. I watched several analysts on Fox and CNN blame Nigerian airport officials for allowing the guy to pass through undetected. Everbody conviniently forgot Amsterdam. Dora should have been on the international media circus trumpeting the point that the boy was duly scanned and xrayed, his father reported him to the embassy etc. She only mentioned this in the local news and it took some time b4 it was picked up.

There is also a point some people have not explored. In the past 2 years, we have also had a few young British born muslims who were radicalized in the UK. Security operatives should start paying attention to what is going on in the mosques there (and Nigeria should too incase the same thing starts happening here).

Definitely, travel will become more difficult for Nigerians but let's not 4get that some young Americans left the US and travelled to Pakistan to become Jihadists. Their parents reported them missing and they were later found in pakistan. Also some British born citizens have engaged in terrorism, yet nobody has labeled these two countries terrorist countries.

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Biggie Smalls Hypnotize Lyrics said...

The case of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab, though not your every day, run of the mill almajiri. Is still cause for concern. This only shows that the problems of Nigerian society need to be tackled at all levels not simply the poor and downtrodden masses, this should also include the middle class and the highly rarefied atmosphere of the well-to-do elite from which Abdulmuttallab comes from. In essence, it is everyone's problem.

Free Beats said...

So....Political instability, unemployment, religious intolerance, lack of infrastructures, niger delta wahala etc etc...and now....(drumroll) - terrorism. As SSD said, we really can NO LONGER AFFORD TO BE COMPLACENT.

Natural thyroid treatment said...

It has also been revealed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had forwarded the list of passengers on that plane to the US authorities before the plane left Lagos as required by international law under the Advanced Information Systems (AIS) put in place since the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

Free Instrumentals said...

@NIMMO: Too funny! that is right on man

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