Nigeria, a country on the continent of Africa has faced turmoil over the years. To the Western world, Nigeria is developing nation, that battles with religious crisis withing the country; and is also known for its fraudulent activities. Fraudulent activities to what is more commonly known as ‘419’ in the country is where you are sent an email by an unknown person, who claims to have a substantial amount of money in their possession and needs to wire the money to an offshore bank account in order for it to be claimed. The unwise man would fall for this ploy and be scammed.
On December 25, 2009, Umaru Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested for a terrorist threat, after the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253. He was suspected of trying to detonate a bomb that was on him, but was unsuccessful and was then bombarded by other passengers, who held him down, until the authorities took him into custody.
Now, this is a story Nigerians do not need to add to their resume. The country has enough problems on its own, for it to have to deal with this.
Nigerians all over the world were dumbfounded when the news was reported. This kind of behavior was unheard of, and not synonymous with Nigerians. To say the least, Nigerians were outraged and confused at the same time. Not only was Abdulmutallab making Nigerians look bad, they could not understand what would lead him to such drastic measures. Abdulmutallab came from a prominent family in Nigeria. His father was the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and help other positions as well. With his father well known and being a prominent figure in Nigeria, he was able to afford his children with luxuries, like the ability to study abroad.
“When Richard Reid the shoe bomber was apprehended, they did not talk about him being from the United Kingdom. It was him, Richard Reid the terrorist, not Richard Reid the British guy….All the news kept talking about was the Nigerian terrorist…yes, he is a citizen of Nigeria, but he has lived outside Nigeria for most of his life…” said Innocent Ogbede.
News networks were condemning all Nigerians and not threading carefully with their words. A whole nation cannot be judged by the acts of one man. If anything, the fault should lie with the officials, for they were forewarned, but did not take any action. Umaru Mutallab, Abdulmutallab’s father, reported it to the government officials, that he feared his son was radicalised and needed to be watched.
After the whole incident, groups were formed on facebook with titles such as ‘Nigerians are not terrorists’, ‘His name is not “The Nigerian Terrorist”. His name is Umar Abdulmutallab’ and ‘Get us off that list : Nigerians are NOT terrorists’, to name a few. Clearly there was outrage by other Nigerians, who felt they would not be judged unfairly.
Hopefully justice will be done, and Umaru Farouk Abdulmutallab will be condemned for his actions. And Nigerians will not be judged by his actions. A survey conducted in 2003 named Nigerian as the happiest people in the world. So you can see the irony in this whole ordeal. Nigerians just do not fit the bill for such behavior. “Nigerians love life, and Nigerians will not kill themselves for no reason” said Innocent Ogbede.