Attempted Plane Bombing will have Long-Term Consequences, says Expert

Nigeria's government says it is boosting airport security after a young Nigerian allegedly tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, initially flew from Lagos to Amsterdam December 24th, say Nigerian officials, before he boarded the Northwest flight that he tried to bring down by igniting explosives he smuggled aboard.

The government has ordered its security agencies to investigate the incident and says it will cooperate with American authorities.

A Nigerian analyst has been looking at the effect the attempted bombing will have on other Nigerians.

It will make it harder for young Nigerians to get into many foreign countries to continue their education – and will hurt Nigerians in various ways for years to come, says Dr. Abubakar Momoh, who teaches political science at the Lagos State University.

“Everybody in the country is shocked, whether Christians, Muslims, whether from the north or south, whether you are a technocrat or a business person.  A student or a trader or a market person -- everybody is just dumbfounded about what is happening,” he says.

“It is apparent that some influences that may have not been rooted in the country may have precipitated his action.”  

The terror suspect had a wealthy background and could not have been pushed into the act by either poverty or deprivation of any kind, according to Momoh.
“He is from the upper class in the country; [since the 1970s] his father has held very high positions as managing director of very important development institutions, either in the north or south.”

The father “had distinguished himself as a technocrat and as a core professional,” says Momoh.  “He is well respected in the north and the country generally.”

While the terror attempt should be regarded as an isolated incident, Momoh says, its fall-out will affect Nigerians for several years to come.
“There are many children of [the] northern elite who are Muslims who are studying in the United States or Europe and we have not [had this kind of problem before].”

But it is also true, he says, “that some of these religious extremists and groups have reached boiling points and they are so overwhelmed and excited by them such that family values are no longer issues for them to take seriously.”


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