By Daniel Idonor, Albert Akpor & Laide Akinboade, with Agency report
ABUJAâ€”BARELY 24 hours after a Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was arrested for alleged plan to bomb an American aircraft, another Nigerian was yesterday arrested after he allegedly locked himself in a toilet aboard a plane with the same flight number as the one attacked on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday described as embarrassing, the report of the alleged attempt by a Nigeria, Malam Umar Abdulmutallab,Â to bomb an American aircraft, saying that the incident was capable of worsening the countryâ€™s image abroad.
Another Nigerian held
According to Agency reports, late last night, the 30-year-old was reported to have boarded in Lagos with no luggage. Airline crew said on the Amsterdam to Detroit leg of Northwest Airlines flight 253 he became verbally disruptive.
Two people claimed the Nigerian, who was not identified, then locked himself in the toilet for over an hour.
On touchdown, he man was arrested by FBI agents who were waiting on the runway.
All 257 passengers and 11 crew left the plane safely.
Vice-President JonathanÂ spoke at a church service to mark the last Sunday of the year and thanksgiving service at Living Faith Church, (Winners Chapel), Durumi, Abuja.
The Vice-Presidentâ€™s reaction coincided with that of the Information and Communications Minister, Professor Dora Akunyili, that Umar entered and left Nigeria on December 24, a day before the alleged attempt to blow up the plane.
Akunyili told newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, thatÂ â€œthe man in question has been living outside the country for a while. He sneaked into Nigeria on December 24, and left the same day.â€
â€œNigerian security agencies are working hand in hand with international security agencies on this matter,â€ the minister said, reading a brief statement and declining to take questions,â€
Akunyili, also in a statement, later yesterday, assured all passengers traveling through Nigerian airports of their safety.
The statement reads, â€œWe want to assure everybody that our airports are safe, having just passed ICAO Security Audit and the American Transportation Security Administration Audit in November 2009. However, in the light of the new developments, we have reinforced our security systems in all our airports.
â€œOn December 25, 2009, we received with dismay the news of an attempted terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on a US airline. We want to reiterate that Nigeria as a nation abhors all forms of terroris. Nigerian security agencies are working hand_in_hand with international security agencies on this matter.
â€˜â€™The man in question has been living outside the country for a while. He sneaked into Nigeria on December 24, 2009, and left the same day.â€
Vice-President Jonathan, who spoke in Abuja, said the incident was likely of worsen the harassment of Nigerians abroad, adding that â€œthis will bring unnecessary harassment and scrutiny to other Nigerians who want to travel outside the country.
â€œWe trust in God, He will not disappoint us and He will see us through. I, therefore, urge every Nigerian to change in the way we used to do things and show enough commitment to the nation,â€
On the countryâ€™s challenges, the Vice-President expressed optimism that â€œas a nation which God loves and whose trust is in God, we will surmount all the challenges facing us as a nation in the coming yearâ€.
He said â€œwith the commitment of all Nigerians and prayers to the Almighty, the country will not remain the way it is todayâ€.
He also expressed appreciation to the Church and all Christians for their fervent prayers for the stability of the country and the speedy recovery of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, saying: â€œI sincerely thank the Church and all Christians for their fervent prayers for the Presidentâ€™s speedy recovery and the nation. From the day we came into power and whenever our nation is faced with difficulties, the Church has risen up in prayers for Godâ€™s intervention. We quite appreciate this supportâ€.
IGP Onovo speaks today
It was also gathered that the police boss would speak on last weekâ€™s attempt to bomb the Super screen Television Station in the Onipanu area of Lagos, during which the suspectedÂ bomber, one Olayiwola Ahmed, had his hands chopped off.
Onovo, the source added would talk on his administrationâ€™s commitment to providing security for the citizenry including the preparedness of the anti-bomb and anti-terrorists squads of the force to meet with the modern challenges.
First Bank condemns attack
According to First Bank, in a statement by its Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr Bisi Onasanya: â€œAs a prominent Nigerian, who has been CEO/Chairman of other Nigerian banks, a Federal Government Minister and leader of Presidential Committee, this unfortunate incident is not only a personal tragedy for Dr. Mutallab and his family, but also a sad development for the nation as a whole, which has been making great strides in rebuilding its image in the international community.
â€œFirst Bank strongly condemns any act of terrorism. We are, therefore, encouraged by reports that Dr. Mutallab pro-actively informed the appropriate authorities of his suspicions about his sonâ€™s extreme views, and we thank God that this terror mission was unsuccessful.â€