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