Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nigeria criticises 'unfair' US air passenger screening

Tougher screening of passengers wanting to fly to the US has been condemned as unfair by Nigeria - one of the nations singled out for special checks.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili said the rules, brought in after a Nigerian allegedly man tried to blow up a plane, discriminated against 150m Nigerians. Bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did not represent Nigeria, she said.

Nigerians are among 14 nations whose nationals face stiffer rules including body searches and luggage checks. Four other African countries - Algeria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan - are also subject to the new measures. It follows an alleged attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas Day.
US President Barack Obama has been under pressure to make visible security improvements. But Ms Akunyili said 23-year-old Mr Abdulmutallab's act was a "one-off". "Abdulmutallab's behaviour is not reflective of Nigeria and should therefore not be used as a yardstick to judge all Nigerians," she said. "He was not influenced in Nigeria, he was not recruited or trained in Nigeria, he was not supported whatsoever in Nigeria. "It is unfair to discriminate against 150 million people because of the behaviour of one person."

The BBC's Fidelis Mbah in Lagos says queues of people waiting to check in were longer than usual at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Monday after the new security directives came into effect. He says extra officials had been deployed to search luggage and frisk passengers. Nigeria has already said it has tightened its security measures since the alleged Christmas Day plot. Security agents prevented our reporter from speaking to people in the queues.


  1. It is highly unfair to label all 150 million other Nigerians as 'potential terrorists' because of just an individual. Really,it's pathetic how Nigeria is adding another name to it's list of already existing names. This is someone that had only his primary education in Nigeria, he has been out of Nigeria for 15 years, and got influenced in the UK, and I am quite sure Nigerians would undergo much more humiliating screenings at airports than citizens of the UK or any other 'potential terrorist Country' which I have a problem with, because really, on the other side, no one can blame the US for being extra careful with the 09/ 11 attacks still vivid in memory.

  2. I totally agree with you Kemi, to me it just a matter of ignorance and quick fix, by scrutinizing Nigerians will not stop another terrorist attack so i guess the list of the blacklisted countries will forever be growing. On the other side dont blame Americans they are just ignorant really ( i know this is wrong, but as a Nigerian am i offended by their actions). For example, the attacks in the UK were carried out by their own citizens why didnt they blacklist the UK? its also the issue of power trip, developed vs. developing. To me this rubbish is really unnecessary, there are effective ways to go about this. I totally commend Umar Farouk's father, it takes a lot for a parent to report their own child and i read that he made countless efforts to get his son back from Yemen, i guess to the US that doesnt count. No matter what Ms. Dora tries to tell them, it cant change the picture they've painted of Nigerians. The U.S. should just accept the blame that they failed with their security measures, Nigeria should also be partially blamed, but like someone said what do you expect from a developing and corrupt-ridden nation, ofcourse nothing. If we had the proper measures they could have stopped Umar Farouk from boarding that flight in Nigeria.