U.S. Homeland Security officials are in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as part of investigations into the failed attempt by a Nigerian to blow up a plane.
On December 25 Farouk Abdulmuttalab carried explosives aboard a plane headed for Detroit, but other passengers foiled his attempt.
Nigeria has been trying to improve security, hoping that Washington will remove it from the terror watch list.“As they say over here, Nigeria is a nation out of service,” says Emma Ezeazu, an aviation security consultant and general secretary for the Alliance for Credible Elections.
“We have a president, but we don’t have a president,” he says. “We have a vice president, but he is not in charge. We have a cabal that is going around using the opportunity presented by the president’s illness, so we really have a hopeless situation in this country at the moment.”
The meeting with the U.S. security officials should have been held before the United States added Nigeria to its terror watch list, says Ezeazu.
“If we had a proper government in place, this meeting would have occurred earlier.”
Nigeria showed it did not take the issue of security seriously in that it failed to install scanners at airports, he says, but the United States should also share part of the blame.
“The U.S. had time to get the job done. They had [scanners] all over the place in terms of monitoring this man, but they could not. I am not trying to justify the fact that Nigeria did not use those machines.
We did not place the machines because we do not have good governance in this country.”
If the international community, including the United States, had insisted on credible elections in Nigeria, militant groups could not have found willing recruits in the country, Ezeazu says