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Nigeria Regrets Inclusion on US Screening List

  • Gilbert da Costa

Nigeria wants the US to reconsider its inclusion on a list of countries whose air travelers will be subjected to enhanced security screening techniques. The new security measures come into effect in response to the Christmas Day bombing attempt on a US airliner.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili said the U.S. action is unfair, describing the incident as a "one-off" for which the rest of the nation should not be punished.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, has been charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight with almost 300 people on board. He joined that flight in Amsterdam from a KLM flight from Lagos.

The would-be bomber has told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

Abdulmutallab was educated in Togo before studying engineering at University College, London and had lived outside Nigeria for some time. Akunyili says the young Nigerian may have been influenced negatively during his stay abroad.

"He was influenced to do what he tried to do outside the shores of this country," she said. "Before he left this country he was a well-behaved boy. He is from a very respected family, with a good upbringing and got influenced outside the shores of this country."

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration included Nigeria alongside Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen on a list of countries whose passengers will face enhanced screening on arrival at U.S. airports. The techniques include body scans, pat-downs and a thorough search of carry-on luggage.

The Nigerian government has ordered a full investigation into the Christmas Day bomb plot.

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