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On the Interesting Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: Is He Really Nigerian?

Updated on January 15, 2010

On the Interesting Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: Is He Really a Nigerian?


Following the failed detonation of a bomb on a Detroit, Michigan, US-bound plane by a ?Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, the US of A has enlisted Nigeria among some 14 nations thought to be sponsoring terrorism. It is necessary to bring up right off the bat, the isssue of nationality. What makes an individual a citizen of a nation and not of another? Am I a citizen of Nigeria because I was born there? Yes, in my particular situation that would be true. What if I was born in Nigeria anyway, schooled in the Netherlands, and finally settled in Nicaragua, would I still be Nigerian? Perhaps it's more complex now. The question of one's nationality is difficult to address. Are people to be identified with their place of birth, place of death, behavioural traits, physical appearance, place of longest residence, religion, etc etc? At what point does an immigrant become a Nigerian? How do you know where you come from when you have really been to places all around the globe? Mai Mai Sze for example was born in China to Chinese parents, taken to England as a young child, cared for by an Irish nanny, sent to a private high school and college in the United States, to a painting school in France, and now lives in New York City. Mai 's works are included in Asian American paintings, but scholars never tire of condemning her for her lack of ethnic pride and themes in her paintings.
To further complicate the issue of one's nationality, not only are geographical and parent factors significant, but there are external factors to be considered also. recent immigrants often feel, quite accountably, a certain sense of strangeness in a new country, but when American-born Chinese Americans, from families many generations in the US, are asked where they learned such good English, they too are made to feel alien and foreign.

Therefore on the ‚ÄĆinteresting case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab born to Nigerian parents, attended an elite British boarding school in Togo, where many of his classmates were British expatriates and students from around West Africa, was twice in Yemen for an Arabic course, attended University College London, where he enrolled in a mechanical engineering course from September 2005 to June 2008, could it still be said that this 23-year old is a Nigerian? Unless the issue of one's nationality is resolved, it would remain unequivocal that the US of A has been too hasty in 'punishing' Nigeria with such a categorisation that suggests albeit remotely, that the Most Populous African Nation could be soft on terrorism. Already the Nigerian Upper House (Senate) have voiced threats of a diplomatic row should the US not delist her in the coming 7days.

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    • profile image

      Effie 

      7 years ago

      The flight did not originate from Nigeria. It originated from Amsterdam. Oh well.

    • profile image

      Musik 

      8 years ago

      Nigeria has Black Gold.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 

      8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

    • Sirwilly profile imageAUTHOR

      Ezeh Izuchukwu 'Sirwar' Williams 

      8 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

      The way you say it, the USA gets involved only when there's some resources to 'get their hands on'. lol. Anyway, you really never know what US interests are!

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 

      8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      This is idle speculation on my part, I'm really quite ignorant, but I wonder what resources Nigeria has that US corporations might want to get their hands on?

    • Sirwilly profile imageAUTHOR

      Ezeh Izuchukwu 'Sirwar' Williams 

      8 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

      I do not doubt that terrorist cells could exist in Nigeria or in Iraq or anywhere in the world for that matter, but listing Nigeria as a sponsor to terrorism only in consideration of a single event (and that not even conclusive!)was a rash action on the part of the USA and should not have necessitated this growing suspicion and inhumanity (Nigerian on international flights to and from the US will tell more)attached to being Nigerian.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I don't think it's as much a matter of this individuals nationality, but more it's a matter of where he originated from prior to the flight which leads US officials to question what role Nigeria may play in Al-Qaeda or in harboring terrorists. I would not classify Nigeria as a terrorist nation necessarily, nor would I classify Iraq as one necessarily, but certainly terrorist cells may operate in or around these nations.

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