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Opinions of Friday, 15 January 2010

Columnist: Akumey-Affizie, Nunya

Suicide Bomber- The Balance of Mind

The 23-year old scion of an affluent family from Northern Nigeria who attempted bombing a trans-Atlantic airliner on Christmas day has left an ugly scar on the beautiful face of the green country and largely cast a slur on the entire continent. It is absolutely unfathomable and incomprehensible how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab could ignore all the juicy trappings of success and comfort hovering over his head to become a protégé bomber for Al-Qaeda.

Having enrolled and completed the British School in Togo, young Farouk proceeded to the prestigious University of London where he was domiciling in a Two Million Pound flat.

His father, Alhaji Umaru Abdul Mutallab is a leading Banker and former government minister responsible for Economic Development of Cooperatives and Supplies between 1975 and 1976. He later became a member of Nigeria's Federal Executive Council (1976-78). He left to serve as Executive Vice Chairman, Managing Director, and CEO of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) (1978-88).

Being the chairman of the Nigeria's first Islamic bank, Jaiz Bank International Plc, which was established in 2003, he was described by The Times in 2009 as being "one of the richest men in Africa", by The New York Times as "among Nigeria’s richest and most prominent men," by The Telegraph as being "one of Nigeria's most prominent bankers", and by The Guardian as being "one of the country's most respected businessmen".

As a former student of Achimota College, Accra and the South West London College, London. Alhaji Mutallab served on the boards of several companies. He was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of the Niger for services to the country, one of Nigeria’s highest honors as well as Italian Commander of the Order of Merit.

From the above, it is abundantly clear that young Farouk could never have carried out that dastardly act due to poverty nor hunger. Even though there was enough to eat and spare, there were two great ingredients missing in the growing up process of young Farouk and those are, Parental scrutiny and religious orientation.

It is very revealing from two out of the many write-up posted by young Farouk on an Islamic website that, he was in a state of oblivion and urgently needed a bearing and direction in order to clear the distortion in his mind about issues he considered very crucial.

On 28 January, 2005, Umar Farouk posted the following: “I have no friend. Not because I do not socialize, etc but because either people do not get too close to me as they go partying and stuff while I don’t, or they are bad people who befriend me and influence me to do bad things”. “As I get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and I struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze. And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused But I am only 18 .It would be difficult for me to get married due to social norms of getting to the late 20’s when one has a degree, a job, a house, etc before getting married. THE LAST THING I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS MY DILEMA BETWEEN LIBERALISM AND EXTREMISM (My emphasis). How should one put the balance right”?

Unfortunately after some few years of living a confused life, young Farouk found his balance on the side of extremism.

On February 5, 2005, he wrote: “I will describe myself as very ambitious and determined, especially in the Deen”.

On May 9, 2005, he finally wrote “The Prophet did say a time will come when the leaders will be the worst among the people. Indeed this seems to be the time….we are ruled by the worst of people, tyrants. May Allah help us and guide us all, and establish for us good leaders who fear Him”.

An “ewe” dictum tells us that, a testicle that would develop into hernia can be spotted from the first day of infancy. (Debatable though).

In the midst of all the brouhaha, the unfortunate happened when the Nigerian information Minister Ms. Akunyuli simplified the issues and cleverly shifted blame to Ghana where young Farouk was alleged to have sojourned before jetting to America.

My research has revealed that, Ms Akunyuli who is perceived by the Nigerian public as suffering from “Oral Diarrhoea” is a pharmacist. I do have some pretty crucial questions bothering my mind:

Could it be factual that:

(a) Alhaji Abdulmutallab has a wife from Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama Bin Laden?

(b) Our ruling elite create an oasis of comfort for themselves and children, but in the process, end up having alienated children who are open to all manners of negative influences: prostitution (clandestine and open), drugs and the extremism.

© Loneliness is not an excuse to take people's lives or attempt to do so be it gangsterism or terrorism. What would you say to village dwellers in Africa with no access to electricity, roads, water?

(d) The Nigerian National Assembly failed the Federal republic and largely contributed to the listing of Nigeria into the 'TERRORIST COUNTRIES OF INTEREST' list by their failure to pass an anti-terrorism bill since October, 2009 when it was forwarded for their accent?

(e) Young Farouk attended the father's retirement party, held in Lagos after the father reported him missing to the authorities? Did he alert the authorities to apprehend him for questioning?

Your guess is as good as mine. Lets all learn to confront issues head-on rather than apportion blames.

Thankfully, the Almighty God showed Himself strong and prevented the slaughtering of innocent persons on board the flight. God bless us all.

Author: Akumey-Affizie Nunya