By Daniel Idonor & Henry Umoru
ABUJAâ€”FEDERAL Government yesterday expressed â€œdisappointment and concern over the undeserved placement of Nigeriaâ€ by the United States as one of the countries under the watch list of terrorism.
A statement read by Minister of Information and communication, Prof Dora Akunyili at the end of the Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice president Goodluck Jonathan at the State House, yesterday, said: â€œNigeria expresses its disappointment and concern over the undeserved placement of Nigeria on the country-of-interest list and views this action as having the potential of undermining long standing and established US-Nigeria bilateral ties and the goodwill the US enjoys in Nigeria.
â€œIt is noteworthy that Mr. Farouk Mutallab, though Nigerian born, has been educated and bred outside Nigeria and only transited through Nigeria for less than 30 minutes on the fateful day where he underwent regular airport security.â€
Akunyili said that Nigeria has signed and ratified nine of the 16 UN and AU instruments on counter-terrorism dealing with issues ranging from money laundering, drug trafficking, crime, to nuclear terrorism, adding that this was in addition to its various roles in peacekeeping which have earned it international recognition and commendations of the UN.
She said: â€œNigeria has, since December 25, expressed its deep sorrow and dismay over the incident which it condemned in all its ramifications. Farouk Mutallab, though Nigerian-born, has been educated and bred outside Nigeria and only transited through Nigeria for less than 30 minutes on the fateful day where he underwent regular airport security.
The minister said the federal government has ordered eight body scanners for the nationâ€™s airports adding that they are expected to arrive in the coming two weeks.
Govs to take decision on Monday
Meantime, the 36 governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governorsâ€™ Forum will meet on Monday to deliberate on the United States action of including Nigeria on the watch-list following the alleged aborted terrorist attempt by Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja at the end of the meeting of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, chairman of the Governorsâ€™ Forum and governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki who noted that the governors discussed a lot of issues ranging from politics to health of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, said: â€œWe discussed a number of issues from politics to economy and security, and one of the things you will also want to know is about the health of Mr. President. We are very happy to say that he is improving very well.
Just a few hours ago, Mr. President got in touch with both the vice president, the Senate president, the speaker and we also had time to discuss some of the comments by some Nigerians.â€
On when the President will be returning home, Saraki said: â€œthe health of the President is different from the time that he will be coming back and it is anticipatory that we are happy to see a great improvement on his health.
This is because prior to now, a lot of anti-democratic individuals have been spreading rumours that the President cannot talk or converse and that he is in comma.
You can confirm what we are saying and I think it is good that the President said his health is improving and that is what we have said.
So that is what I can speak on and that is what I can say on the two issues.â€
On the governorsâ€™ decision on the case of Mutallab and sanction by the government of the United States of America, Saraki said, â€œthat is what I have told you.
Itâ€™s a serious issue and this is just PDP governorsâ€™ meeting. It is an issue that requires entire governors to meet and deliberate on. Itâ€™s a national issue and as such we are recommending that at the next national meeting, it should be the main item on the agenda. We have brought the next meeting forward to Monday to address this matter.â€
Present at the meeting were governors of Adamawa, Katsina, Kwara, Oyo; Akwa Ibom; Ebonyi; Bauchi, Bayelsa, Gombe, Niger, Osun, Imo, Zamfara and Plateau. Others were governors of Benue, Kaduna, Kebbi, Enugu states.