Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Remove Nigeria from terror list

BLACKLISTING: Senate gives US 7-
day ultimatum - Maduekwe
meets US Envoy, says action
unacceptable - Experts urge FG
to seek AU, UN intervention - US
must respect Nigeria - Ogwu -
This is uncalled for - AC - Sever
relations with US - Afe
From Taiwo Adisa, Bola Badmus,
Kunle Oderemi, Adewale Ajayi,
Muda Oyeniran, Ayodele
Adesanmi, with Agency Reports
- 06.01.2010
THE Senate, on Tuesday, issued a
seven-day ultimatum to the United
States of America (USA), within
which it should remove Nigeria
from its list of countries sponsoring
terrorists or risk a diplomatic row.
The President of the Senate, David
Mark, who issued the one-week
ultimatum said that the Senate
would meet in a closed session on
January 12 to deliberate further on
the situation.
Mark, who spoke through the
Chairman, Senate Committee on
Information and Media, Ayogu Eze,
said that it was unfair for the US to
have punished Nigeria for the
activities that did not originate
from its territory.
Senator Eze told media men on
Tuesday: “I am sure that you have
been observing the trend in the
media and we are referring to the
issue of America listing Nigeria as
one of the 14 countries to be
placed under watch.
“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 up
this matter seriously if America has
not taken Nigeria off that list.
“We also want to advise America
that in their own best interest, they
should conduct this matter very
well in a manner that will not result
in 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.
“Moreover, this is just one instance
of a Nigerian who, it is clearly
established, 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
“We have also watched with keen
interest several other breaches that
have taken place since this boy ’s
attempt. There was an uninvited
guest who went to the White
House, he and his wife were found
in the White House. That was not a
Nigerian. America should look
inward and search their souls, there
is something wrong with their
system and they should not punish
Nigerians who are very law-abiding
and good international citizens for
the failure and irresponsibilities of
American operatives, Nigeria will
not take that.”
The US government had, on
Monday, released a list of 14
countries to be placed under close
watch as states sponsoring
terrorism in the wake of the
Christmas Day failed bomb attempt
on a Detroit, Michigan, US-bound
plane by a Nigerian, Umar Farouk
Senator Eze said our citizens who
returned from different
destinations, especially those who
from America, went through hell in
order to meet their kith and kin for
the Christmas break and the
harrowing experience had scared a
lot of them who were even afraid
to return and some who were even
afraid to originate their trips for
genuine transaction in Ame-rica,
adding that this must be stopped
“It is not America alone that has
citizens to whom the government
is responsible, we also have citizens
and we are responsible to them.
We will not allow Nigerians to be
molested wherever they go.
“I think this message should be put
out clearly. When we resume, if the
situation is still there, it is going to
be one of the major issues that we
are going to tackle and the Senate
President has told me to state
categorically that he is unhappy
about this, and, being the chairman
of the National Assembly, it means
also on behalf of the National
Assembly, ” Senator Eze stated.
House of Reps
Also, the House of Representatives,
on Tuesday, described the US action
as unwarranted and unfair.
Spokesman for the House,
Honourable Eyibo Eseme, said this
while reacting to US govern-ment ’s
action, following the arrest of
Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, a Nigerian,
for allegedly trying to blow a plane
in the US.
The lawmaker asked the US to
remove Nigeria ’s name on the list,
adding that “the earlier they delist
Nigeria on the list or rescind from
the decision to put us on the alert,
the better for our diplomatic
relations. ”
Honourable Eyibo said the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), the
Federal Bureau for Investigation
(FBI) and other security agencies in
the United States might be guilty of
some terrorist acts, giving the
circumstance of the case at hand.
According to him, “it was possible
that the US security agencies listed
had accomplices with those that
trained Abdul-Mutallab in Yemen.
“It is possible that they have
accomplices with the guys that
trained the boy in Yemen.
“If not, why didn’t they condemn
Yemen? Why have they spared
Yemen and are now condemning
Nigeria ?”
Professor Joy Ogwu
Nigeria's Permanent
Representative to the United
Nations (UN), Professor Joy Ogwu,
has demanded that the US
government respected Nigeria's
position on terrorism.
“The country cannot be adjudged a
terrorist country because of the
misdeed of one man, the person in
question neither received his
training in Nigeria, nor grew up in
the country, ” Ugwu told the UN
correspondent of the News Agency
of Nigeria.
“Terrorism is alien to our culture
and I can’t even find a word for it
in my own native language,” she
told NAN on Tuesday in New York.
Ogwu said the country’s media and,
by extension, the government had
a lot of work to do to counter the
misleading negative concept about
the country.
Ofonagoro, Mbu react
A former Minister of Information,
Dr. Walter Ofonagoro and a one-
time Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ambassador Matthew Mbu, on
Tuesday, differed on the placement
of Nigeria on a terror list by the US
over the bothched attempt by
Abdul-Mutallab to bomb an
American airliner on Christmas Day.
While Mbu said the American
government could not have done
otherwise in view of the gravity of
the matter, Ofona-goro believed
the US went too far in taking the
Mbu said the action was justified
because no responsible governmet
would condone any act of
Asked if the US should not have
considered other factors before
thinking of embarking on any
tough measures over the foiled
bombing, the elder statesman said
“ what has the US done? What has
Nigeria done? What would you do if
you were an American? Would you
go to tea party with Nigeria or go
to dinner after Mutallab ’s
explosion? Why are you asking me
the obvious?
“To add more to our problems or
compound the situation, what
happened to AbdulMutallab is
unfortunate and all Nigerians of
good mind will certainly regret the
unfortunate incident, because the
power that be that are against
Nigeria will use every excuse to
punish innocent Nigerian travelling
to their country.
“And my answer is that this is a
warning to heartless Nigerian not to
engage the country in a global
warfare of hatred against their
However, Ofonagoro expressed
total dissa-pointment with the US
over the placement of Nigeria on
the terror list, saying that Nigeria is
a secular state.
“It is wrong for the US to have
done that. Nigeria cannot be listed
as a terrorist state because Nigeria
is a secular state, since it does not
belong to any particular religion
and we are doing our very best to
fight terrorism.
“I think it is completely unfair to
classify Nigeria as a terrorist state.
From media reports, we can see
that Farouk ’s father, Umaru
Mutallab, went the extra mile to
alert the US that his son was in bad
company and this shows a good
example of a responsible parent.
“How many men in America or
Britain will report their own son as a
potential terrorist? I think the man
has done more than anybody can
expect him to do to show that he is
not in support of terrorism.
“What the US is saying by its
pronouncement is that Nigeria has
the potential for terrorism because
of the Islamic fundamentalists in
the country and the frequent
religious riots. But I still insist that
the US is being unfair to Nigeria
because they cannot judge the
whole country by the action of one
young man.
“The implication of the US stand is
that any Nigerian going to the US
will first be stripped unclothed to
make sure he is not having any
weapon on him and they will also
put Nigeria on their terrorist watch
to know if the Islamic militants are
now taking over the country,” he
, Afe Babalola too
Eminent lawyer , Chief Afe
Babalola, wants Nigeria to review
its diplomatic relations with the
United States.
Reacting to the listing of Nigeria on
the terror list by Washington, after
the arrest of Farouk Umar Mutallab
for allegedly trying to bomb a
plane in America, Chief Babalola
described as “unjust and
disturbing,” the classification of
Nigeria as a country of dangerous
people on account of one isolated
”It is unfair and disturbing to use
one single case against Nigeria.
Citizens of other countries, including
Americans and Britons, have been
arrested for grievous offences
around the world and only such
individuals have been held
“One recalls the case of a British
citizen executed recently in China
for smuggling into that country a
large consignment of cocaine. China
did not blacklist Britain.
“It is more disturbing because the
alleged offender has not been
found guilty in the face of the
law, ”Chief Babalola argued.
, AC also reacts
The Action Congress (AC) has said
that the US action was not
necessary and what the country
needed now was understanding
and support from its international
partners to root out religious
The party, in a statement issued in
Lagos, on Tuesday, by its National
Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai
Mohammed, said Nigerians were
victims of religious extremists who
had engaged in killing, despoiling
and maiming of thousands of
innocent people over the years.
According to the AC, “Nigerians,
most of whom are law-abiding and
decent citizens, are now facing a
double jeopardy — first from the
misguided but few religious
extremists among them and now
from the US and other members of
the international community
seemingly intent on punishing all
Nigerians for the sin of a few, ” it
The AC said the Nigerian
government itself must do its bit in
making the country unattractive
for global terrorism sponsors who
are seeking to recruit willing folks
to swell their ranks.
The party said if Nigeria was
emerging as a recruiting ground for
terrorists, it was because over the
years, the government had not
taken up the gauntlet of putting an
end to the incessant religious crisis
perpetrated by religious bigots and
extremists, starting from the
Maitatsine riots in the 1980s to
Boko Haram and Kala-Kato in 2009.
Other Nigerians react
Experts told the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on Tuesday,
that the profiling would not
enhance relations between Nigeria
and the US.
They urged Nigeria to do its best to
save its citizens from unpalatable
treatment resulting from the
alleged offence of one Nigerian.
A former Nigerian High
Commissioner to South Africa,
Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, said
Nigeria should urgently seek the
intervention of the UN and African
Union (AU) to secure an
understanding by the US that
Nigerians were not terrorists.
Ashiru described the alleged
attempted bombing and the listing
as unfortunate, especially with
Nigeria ’s re-branding efforts.
“It is unfortunate that an offence of
a single Nigerian would now make
many responsible Nigerians to go
through demeaning experiences at
“The US government should be
made to understand that Nigeria is
not known for terrorism; the UN
and AU have a great responsibility
here in safeguarding Nigerians
travelling to the US, ’’ he said.
Dr. Jamiu Oluwatoki of the
Department of History and
International Studies, Lagos State
University (LASU), urged the US not
to be harsh to Nigeria because of
Abdul-Mutallab ’s alleged crime.
Oluwatoki, however, urged
Nigerians travelling to the US to be
more security-conscious.
The lecturer noted that the US
government had, since the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attack
on the World Trade Centre (WTC) in
New York, been unilaterally fighting
“With the situation on ground,
Nigerians should be calm and be on
the lookout, while the government
evolves measures to safeguard
them, ” he advised.

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