THE imprisonment for life imposed by the United States court on Nigeria’s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for attempting to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner with 300 people on board underscores the nightmare that must have haunted his family and indeed many Nigerians since December 25, 2009 when the episode began. Expectedly, the verdict brought mixed reactions in Nigeria. There are people who felt the punishment is too harsh, particularly as it left no option of parole. Some feel that at 24, Umar is a misguided Nigerian youth whose world view has been jaundiced at an impressionable age by American-born terrorist and cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was operating out of Yemen, the birthplace of Umar’s mother.
Others think that terrorism must be condemned in all its ramifications and that peace loving Nigerians must not allow themselves to be contaminated by an alien culture of the slaughter of innocent people under any guise whatsoever.It will be recalled that on Christmas Day 2009, whilst on board Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Umar, after performing his ablutions in the toilet, proceeded to detonate a bomb sewn into his underpants that was undetected in Lagos and Amsterdam airports. The devise did not detonate fully but caught fire burning him and a side of the plane before startled passengers and crew overpowered him and doused the fire, thus preventing an almost certain catastrophe for the jet liner and its 300 occupants.
The case has since gone on trial with Umar showing no contrition for his actions. He admitted that he was on a suicide mission for al Qaeda and described his bomb as a “blessed weapon” to avenge Muslims who have been killed or poorly treated around the world. His behaviour in court betrayed a troubled mind. A novice in law, he did himself no favours when he sacked his lawyer and pleaded guilty to all charges brought against him, including terrorism.
The verdict was a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole....Read More...