So a Nigerian is virtually the most talked about person this Christmas… and for the wrongest of reasons. Omar Mutallab’s attempt to blow up a plane through his pants comes as a worst possible time for the image of a country already battered by the stigma of being a home to corrupt leaders, online scammers etc, despite the desires for ‘re branding’. The surprising thing again is the background of the young Omar which, looking a little more closely, is also not too surprising. It is hard to imagine typical Nigerian blowing himself up for anything (how will he get paid?).
That Omar studied in the UK also brings into the limelight the sad fact that the permissive and individualistic western society is pushing a lot of young Muslim into extremism. Even though Omar had always being very devout from his younger days it seems clear that he got radicalized in University College London. Not that I am trying to make excuses for Omar but it should be a sobering fact to know that western society breeds those who threaten it.
It is also reported that Mutallab’s father had reported his sons radical tendencies earlier and the Nigerian Security Adviser has queried the intelligence agency on why this information was not acted upon. Don’t expect anything though. It’s under the same agencies watch that the wanted Ribadu flew in and out of the country (besides the President is not yet back for his Hajj). The US embassy in Nigeria is said also to have been informed about this. Heads may roll there in the coming weeks.
Nigerians complain about being the most harassed set of people at the airports. It can be expected to get worse as we will not be suspected of carrying gunpowder along with cocaine. Someone warned that we should expect ‘gynecological searches’.
Planning to join the horde of Nigerian’s studying in the UK? The opinion in the US seems to be that UK universites are breeding grounds for terrorists.With expected pressure on the UK by the US to track down extremists. Expect to be watched suspected and harassed from time to time.
Tis really is the season to not want to be a Nigerian.