By Emmanuel Aziken and Inalegwu Shaibu
Abujaâ€”The Senate, yesterday, commended Dr. Umar Mutallab, father of the alleged suspect in the Christmas-Day attempted bombing of an American airliner, but rejected recommendations of a national honour for his efforts in reporting his sonâ€™s inclinations to Islamic radicalism.
Though the Senate noted the failure of the Federal Government to properly articulate the foreign interests of the country, it mandated the Senator Jibril Aminu-led Committee on Foreign Relations to work with the American Senate to extricate Nigeria from the watch list for terrorists.
The Senate’s resolution was upon a motion sponsored by Senators Teslim Folarin (PDP, Oyo Central) and Anyim Ude (PDP, Ebonyi) seeking a condemnation of the reported bombing attempt by Nigerian-born, Umar Abdulmutallab.
The debate was marked by a sharp division among senators as some saw Abdulmutallabâ€™s terrorist action as alien to the country while several others likened past unresolved religious crises and kidnappings in the country to terrorism.
Among those who spoke during the consideration of the motion were Senators Patrick Osakwe (PDP, Delta North), Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River Central), Lee Maeba (PDP, Rivers), Bassey Ewa-Henshaw (PDP, Cross River South), Joy Emodi (PDP, Anambra North) andÂ Mohammed Bello (ANPP, Kano Central).
While Osakwe condemned Umar’s terrorist’s inclination as alien to Nigeria, and was supported by several others, senators Olorunnimbe Mamora (AC, Lagos East) and Joy Emodi argued that past incidences of religious disturbances put focus on Nigeria as a breeding ground for terrorists.
Senator Ndoma-Egba said the actions of the American government was necessitated by the failure of the Nigerian system.
At the conclusion of the debate, the President of the Senate, Chief David Mark, also condemned the attempted bombing but described the actions of the American government on Nigeria as too harsh.
He said though America took the decision in the interest of national security, lumping Nigeria with other nations known for their extremism was not proper when it recently failed to mete out similar action on Britain, after a British citizen failed in his attempt to bomb a plane with a shoe.