Let me start by condemning every act of terrorism and urge the world to unite in the fight against terrorist(s) acts. My special thanks go to the passengers on board Northwest Airline Flight No 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit , who managed to overpower a suspected bomber named, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab from Nigeria . The Nigerian suspected bomber tried to ignite a device as the plane began its approach to landing. The suspect took off from Lagos Nigeria with a KLM flight and connected a Northwest Airline Flight from Amsterdam en route to Detroit . This incident happened on Friday 25th December 2009, as the entire world was busy celebrating Christmas with their loved ones. The suspected bomber suffered burns as a result of the fire which emanated from the device he tried to ignite. Unfortunately the suspect was an engineering student at university college London from 2005 to 2008.
This is a serious security concern for all, especially with the fact that the suspect had links with Al Qaeda or other terrorist(s) networks. The other concern is also the fact that he is a Nigerian and he originated his ill fated journey from Lagos , Nigeria . Now the question is? how did he manage to board at Lagos and Amsterdam airports? Perhaps this is a new device that the airport securities could not detect. Three days before the attempt to blow the transatlantic airlines, that is on the 22nd December 2009 a bomb exploded on a man in a particular area of Lagos city ( Ikorodu Road ). Reports had it that a man walked into a building housing Superscreen Television Station carrying some parcels which contained bombs, one of which exploded blowing off his finger and burnt his face. Luckily this suspect did not die.
The FBI, Metropolitan Police, and Nigerian security agencies should extend their investigation to the incident at the Superscreen Television Station in Lagos Nigeria . There might be links with the transatlantic attempt to blow off Northwest Airline since it was only three days interval. While the suspected bomber (Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab) took off from Lagos airport, Superscreen Television bomb attempt took place also in Lagos . Another concern would be, if there are terrorist(s) groups in Nigeria . One might be tempted to think in the affirmative due to incessant religious crises in Nigeria .
In July 2009, Nigeria witnessed one of her worst religious crises named Boko Haram. Boko Haram in English Language translation means western education is a sin. In that crisis over 300 people died. A year before (2008), there was also a religious riot in Nigeria (the Jos Crisis). The Jos Crisis claimed the lives of many innocent Nigerians. Religious crisis occurs regularly in Nigeria . The big one came in November 2002, when some Moslem youths that were opposed to Miss World contest in Abuja led to its cancellation and subsequent relocation of the show to London . About 100 people lost their lives in that incident. Ironically, a lady from Turkey (a Moslem country) won the contest in London .
Authorities in the United Kingdom (the Commission on National Security in the 21st Century which was sponsored by the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK ) have expressed serious concern about Nigeria . Their concern was reported on the Guardian Newspaper of Thursday November 27 2008 page 23. Part of the report said thus; “The list of 20 failed states is headed by Somalia, where drought and al-Qaeda influences are now compounded by the increasing threat of piracy, and includes Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria”.
The report went further to say that “Weak, corrupt and failing states have become bigger security risks than strong states and will remain a highly visible feature of the security landscape for decades to come. They are targets of transnational criminal networks which are expanding their drugs, arms and people trafficking operations”. On reading the above reports, I quickly wrote a letter to the British Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) on the 3rd December 2008, in the letter I proffered some solutions towards supporting Nigeria to elect credible leaders, which is what Nigeria need. Credible leadership will be able to steer Nigeria out of the ship of failed states and thus ensure the proper fight against global terrorism and crimes.
My letter titled; Letter to the British Prime Minister was published on my blog (http://briefsfromak uta.blogspot. com/2008/ 12/letter- to-british- prime-minister. html). I am also attaching the responses that I got from the office of the British Prime Minister on the issues that I raised. Perhaps this incident might give America and European Union an opportunity to ensure necessary political reforms are carried out in Nigeria . America and Britain insisted that Afghanistan should conduct a credible election. The British Prime Minister even threatened sanction against President Hamid Karzai’s government. America , United Kingdom and the European Union should support and insist that Nigeria reforms her political process. It’s only then, that the Western nations will have a popular and credible Nigerian leader to deal with.
Furthermore, I will also appeal to America , European Union and United Kingdom to support the Nigerian people in their fight against corruption. High level corruption is part of the reason why Nigeria was grouped among the failed states. The Western government can render this help by freezing the accounts of suspected corrupt Nigerian officials in their various countries. They should also reveal the properties acquired by corrupt Nigerian officials. There are quite a number of Nigerian organizations both at home and abroad which the Western countries can work with to ensure changes happens in Nigeria. May God bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An activist and leader of “Support Option A4 Group” Leicester-UK