By Kolade Larewaju,Â with Agency reports
ABEOKUTAâ€”FORMERÂ President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said Nigerians should not be regarded as criminals based on 23-year-oldÂ Umar Farouk Mutallabâ€™s attempt to blow up an America-bound Delta Airline with 290 passengers on board.
Obasanjo, who spoke while fielding questions from newsmen after a thanksgiving service to mark the New Year at the Chapel of Christ the Glorious King in Abeokuta, said Mutallabâ€™s action should not be a yardstick to castigate all Nigerians, adding, â€œNigerians are law-abiding people and not terrorists.â€
He said, â€œThe young manâ€™s case should not be used as a standard to judge Nigerians or in fact, to criminalise all Nigerians. Nigerians are not criminals. The fact that the boy committed a grave offence as a Nigerian does not say that all Nigerians are terrorists or criminals.
â€œI sympathise with his father, particularly, and his family; because I know the father very well. His father is someone I can call specimen of a good man; he is a gentleman and who wants the best for his children. And, this one should be an aberration.â€
Obasanjo said he pitied the Mutallabs for the embarrassment caused them by Faroukâ€™s action, saying the young lad was just a defiant who failed to obey his parents.
He added that defiant children are expected to be seen in any large family, urging the young to be obedient and good children to their parents.
â€œIn any large family, you have defiant children. He (Farouk) just turned out to be that. With that, it is a pity and also, it is a good lesson for all parents and all children. If, as a child, you do not listen to your parents, anything can happen.â€
Obasanjo, who noted that this year would be glorious for Nigerians, charged them to work for it so that the prophecy could come to manifestation.
Mutallab didn’t report son to NIA, SSS
Meantime, Vanguard learnt that contrary to media insinuations, Alhaji Umar Mutallab never made any formal report about his sonâ€™s terrorist tendencies. Investigations from the Presidency have revealed that the only conscious efforts from him to reach out on this issue was an informal chat with a former National Security Adviser, NSA, during which he claimed that his son had cut links with him and would appreciate if efforts could be made to locate him.
According to sources within the Presidency, Alhaji Mutallabâ€™s claim of formally reporting to relevant security agencies is being investigated because of emanating facts that he did not approach the State Security Service, SSS, the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, or even the Police to divulge Faroukâ€™s terrorist tendencies.
The source queried, â€˜â€™If indeed, Mutallab formally reported to any of the security agencies, which was it? Is there any evidence of a report from any where?
The only known evidence is that Mutallab approached the US embassy as stated and acknowledged by the Americans, with details indicating his son was missing, without clear cut information about his affiliations or religious extremism.
â€˜â€™Questions are now being asked; why did they (US Embassy) not act promptly, that is,Â to cancel his visa? Was it just information of a missing son? The Presidency is worried that security agencies locally are trading blames when the US Embassy (if it actually had cogent information) failed to act on such.
â€˜â€™Why are Nigerian security agencies trading blames when the Americans themselves did not find the information on him cogent enough to warrant the cancellation of the visa of Umaru Farouk Mutallab or put him on the red list of the FBI as a potential terrorist?â€™â€˜
Sources within the Presidency have confirmed that Mutallab informally approached the formerNSA to help search for his son who cut links with him from Yemen.
The source queried further, â€˜â€™Why did Mutallab approach a former NSA instead of the serving officer (was he inaccessible)? Why are issues within security agencies (such as queries) being leaked to the media and who has leaked them?