Monday, January 11, 2010


Really? It was announced in the news that Nigerians abroad are being discriminated against? I am oblivious of this discrimination. Yes, I still wear my green-white-green lapel pin publicly. I hear people traveling from Nigeria into the States are going through a more intense security search. The US Transportation Security Administration has directed airlines to give full-body, pat-down searches to U.S.-bound travelers from Nigeria, and 12 other countries of course. No, I have not met the 23year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who allegedly tried to set off an explosive device aboard the Northwest Airline flight in Detroit. He is now in Federal custody, perhaps helping them connect the dots to bring down the infamous al-Qaida group behind all these suicide bombings. He said he received training from Yemen, but obviously he was unripe for the inhuman task. Or is his failure to have denoted the explosive device part of the extremist’s script?

Yes, a great harm has been done to the image of our great Nation. To reverse this, we need more than the “Nigeria, good people, great Nation” rebranding slogan. Here is how Mr. Kanu Junior of Solving Africa expresses his view in his Palm Oil Terrorism article. “There’s an Igbo proverb that says, “If one finger touches palm oil, it spreads to all the other fingers.” This is indicative of how Nigerians the world over felt when they heard the news of a young man who attempted to detonate a bomb on U.S. soil in the name of Al Qaeda. Many of us worried that the actions of this one finger would spread to cover the entire 150 million of us…

And then the next day, the news surfaced that the young man’s father had sent word months earlier to security forces saying he was worried that his son had become radicalized and might even be a threat. In an instant, I was again proud to be Nigerian. I was relieved that the shame that would have hung over my country’s reputation by adding terrorism to the list of already popular vices was abated. Yet somehow, the newsflash on CNN did not reflect this development as fervently as I’d hoped. Instead, there was a special on CNBC about whether or not Nigeria could be a new place to watch in the war on terror.

If all British citizens don’t have to carry the stigma of the shoe bomber, if all Oklahomans, don’t have to bear the shame of the Oklahoma bombings, then let the world be mindful of the invidious conclusions it so easily makes when someone from a poorer nation commits similar crimes. And if this is too much to ask, then let the oil of his father’s noble and highly sacrificial actions spread to cover those worried 150 million fingers.”

1 comment:

Eremipagamo said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just read your comment on Global Voices and wanted to apologize for my mistake and thank you for pointing it out to me so nicely. I've changed the post to reflect what (I hope! :-) is the correct attribution.

Thank you for your lovely blog and keep up the good work!

Take care,