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|Al-queda Infiltrates Nigeria by AloyEmeka9: 7:20pm On Jan 07, 2010|
Al-Queda infiltrates Nigeria
…As bomb scare looms
By NGOZI EMEDOLIBE
THE bomb incidents of last week are daunting. The two principal characters- Olayiwola Ahmed and Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, (who attempted to bomb the Logemo House office of Super screen TV and Northwest Airline flight 253 in Detroit, United States respectively) are even more daunting.
While Nigerians are relishing the fragile stability occasioned by the socio-political clime at the moment, they had been ruffled by news of a bomb explosion at Superscreen TV, a few days to Christmas. Police authorities have been unveiling facts about the bomber, who National Daily gathered was on a mission to deliver wrapped Christmas gifts, specifically targeted at some unnamed staffers of the TV house.
As the news of the Logemo House bombing, continues to be interpreted from variegated spectacles, the international community came forth with something in bad light for the country and its re-branding campaign, as 23 year old Farouk Abdul Mutallab, confessed to being recruited by Al-Queda, a terrorists group to bomb the Northwest Airline, bearing him and other passengers, as the plane was preparing to land at an airport in Detroit, the renowned automobile city in US.
National Daily sources told the paper that the two incidents, signal a bad moment for security vis a vis Nigeria's relations with some foreign powers, especially the United States.
According to a source, the fact that a Nigerian has confessed would make the international terrorist police to beam their search light on Nigerians, in the hope that terrorists have infiltrated the country.
'It is clearly a bad sign. It will ruffle a lot of feathers on our diplomatic dealings with other countries especially America. It will be difficult for them not to believe that Nigeria is a training ground for terrorism. It will also leave a sour taste on the tongues of Nigerian travellers as this would make security operatives in foreign lands to be focussed on their activities hence forth', he said.
According to sources, Umar Farouk Mutallab, had boarded a KLM plane which left Lagos on December 24, 2009, but was transferred to Northwest Airline, in line with the operations of KLM, which sometimes transfers US bound passengers from Schipol Airport in line with arising contingencies.
National Daily gathered that commotion began as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members from Amsterdam, prepared to land in Detroit just before noon Friday, as people were celebrating Christmas. The passengers said they smelled smoke, saw a glow, and heard what sounded like firecrackers. It was then that one person climbed over others and jumped on the Farouk Mutallab who was trying to ignite an explosive device.
"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase. First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke," a co-passenger on the plane, identified as Peter Smith said.
Smith also said one passenger, sitting opposite Farouk Mutallab, had climbed over passengers, went across the aisle and tried to restrain him. That attempt, the paper gathered led to burns on both the heroic passenger and the suspect.
Afterward, the suspect was taken to a front-row seat with his pants cut off. Multiple law enforcement officials confirmed Mutallab appeared badly burned on his legs, indicating that the explosive may have been strapped somewhere there. Sources also said the components were apparently mixed in-flight and included a powdery substance, which security agents at the airports in Lagos and Schipol may have failed to identify.
What may have led the said Umar Farouk Abdullab into the act still remains a mystery. A source told National Daily that he is from an affluent home. Born to wealthy parents, the 23 year old who had spent three years in a London university is said to be the son of a former bank chairman, who is believed to be wielding a lot of influence in Nigeria's corridor of power. He claimed that he had been recruited by Al Quada before being taken to a hospital, where he is being treated at the moment.
Meanwhile, the revelation that Farouk Mutallab, hails from Nigeria is jolting the government as well as Federal Aviation Authorities.
A spokesman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Akin Olukunle, said all passengers and their luggage are screened before boarding international flights. He also said the airport in Lagos cleared a U.S. Transportation Security Administration audit in November.
"We had a pass mark. We actually are up to standards in all senses," he said.
Information and Communications Minister, Dora Akunyili, has condemned the attempted bombing. She stressed that the government has opened its own investigation into the suspect and will work with U.S. authorities on the issue.
"We state very clearly that as a nation we abhor all forms of violence," Akunyili said in a statement issued immediately after the incident.
With the incessant attempted bombings which rocked the scene last week, Nigerians seem to be watching in apprehension, even as security authorities assure that all was well.
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