The news of a Nigerian national trying to blow up a US airplane was one of the least expected news of 2009. And this for obvious reasons. first, the country has no history of international terrorism. There are militias in the country but these are particularly a “civil war” brand of militarism directed at the state government and targeting resource allocation, resource control or self determination for the local population. Of course there are also a strong element of selfishness ingrained in these movements. Which is why ransom payments thrive and government was unable to control the trends until recently by granting amnesty to all militants. secondly, the Nigerian government has shown a determination to deal with any form of religious militancy by practically crushing its emergence during the Boko Haram crisis.
However, with the news of a Nigerian trying to blow up an airplane there are some fundamentals that I will state here about the mentality of almost all Nigerians which make it a firm possibility that the Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab incidence would be an isolated case. First, most Nigerians do not have the “suicide” mentality. Most Nigerians would not kill themselves for any and any course. In fact the thinking that has made the economic and financial crimes to thrive is firmly against any form of self sacrifice. Secondly, in many countries (including the US aggrieved individuals may run amok with an assault weapon and kill at random and then turn the same weapon against their own selves and commit suicide. Betrayed lovers shoot their partners, the accomplice and then shoot themselves. But not in Nigeria. Most of the people have a strong sense of self preservation. In spite of all and any wrongs against them they would strive to keep alive their own selves in hope of a favourable turn of events. thirdly, all the militias in the country from the North to the South, including the Boko Haram never employed the “suicide bomber” methods.
Questions about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (UFA) motives and methods. Reading about the UFA’s story I have questions about his motives and methods which tend to support my views. If UFA was a suicide bomber why did he have to wait till the plane starts to descend? Was he planning to blow up the airport as well? Why did he suddenly started complaining of a stomach pain, hence, calling attention to himself? Was he actually expressing some last minute reluctance to execute and therefore was actually calling for help? If so, then, there must be another accomplice enforcing the execution? Why was he not fighting to continue the detonation of the device especially when Jasper Schuringa came to the “rescue”? The indications are there that UFA is being pushed.
Now this leads me to what I called the Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab syndrome. Al Qaeda would continue to take advantage of any person or group that has religiously motivated grievances. Especially if they are Muslims. They can use anybody from any country including citizens of America. But Nigerians would generally be a little more difficult for them to use. In my view, this is a positive to take from the Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab case.
A word of commendation to Uma Farouk’s Father. UFA’s father should be commended for taking the initiative to notify the US embassy about his son’s religious believes. This is a good citizenship example all Nigerians should imitate. All suspicious activities by absolutely anybody should be reported immediately to the appropriate authority no matter who is involved. You could be saving your own life if you do so.