Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nigerian Security Heads to Roll

Faruk: Security heads to roll

Written by Boco Edet
Nigerian Daily Trust
Monday, 28 December 2009 22:26

Heads are expected to roll shortly in Nigerian security agencies following last weekend’s episode when the young Nigerian Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab managed to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam from Lagos and later attempted to blow up a plane over the American city of Detroit. Information and Communications Minister Professor Dora Akunyili had said in Lagos on Sunday that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered a thorough investigation of the incident.

Daily Trust learnt yesterday that the Federal Government’s anger stemmed from the failure of the country’s security and intelligence agencies, namely the State Security Service [SSS] and the Nigeria Intelligence Agency [NIA] to detect young Umar Faruk when he entered this country from Ghana on Christmas eve, despite the fact that his father had amply warned them that the boy had become a security threat. Umar Faruk was able to pass security clearance at the Murtala Mohamed Airport in Lagos and board the KLM flight, possibly with the chemical explosives that he later used to try to bomb the American plane.

A government source told Daily Trust last night that it was possible that the there was no proper exchange of information between the NIA and the SSS due to bitter inter-service rivalry, which allowed Umar Faruk to slip through the airport.

Meanwhile, the Mutallab family said yesterday that it would fully cooperate with local and international security agencies in the course of investigation. The troubled family released its first official statement since the incident on Friday which left passengers terrified, although no lives were lost.

Umar Faruk, son of recently retired Chairman of the Board of First Bank Umaru Abdul Mutallab and a graduate of engineering from the University College, London got his family members worried when he severed communication after he left Dubai for Yemen to do a summer course in Arabic.

Yesterday, the Mutallabs said the statement would be their only one since the matter was already before an American court. They said they were shocked by the incident and were thankful to God that no lives were lost in the attempted bomb attack.

“Prior to this incident, his father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to the Nigerian security agencies about two months ago, and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago, then sought their assistance to find and return him alone. We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this. We were hopeful that they would find and return him home. It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day,” the family said.

The Mutallabs also said Faruk never displayed any “attitude, conduct or association that would give concern” while growing up. They said the “disappearance and cessation of communication which got his mother and father concerned to report to security agencies are completely out of character and a very recent development.”

Faruk has been charged to a court in Detroit, USA while both local and international security agencies continue to investigate the matter.

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