The Senate yesterday issued an ultimatum to the United States of America to de-list Nigeria from its list of countries that are of special “interest” in terrorism matters or face possible counter action when the legislature resumes next week.
Briefing newsmen on the listing of Nigeria as one of 14 countries from where travelers to the US will face thorough screening, Chairman Senate Committee on Information and Media said the decision of the US government was “hasty” and “unacceptable.”
Senator Eze said, “I am referring specifically to the issue of America in listing Nigeria as one of the 14 countries to be placed under watch and I am speaking on behalf of the Senate and the Senate President to say categorically that we are very unhappy about the development and that when we resume, we are going to take this matter very seriously if America has not taken Nigeria off from that list. We also want to advice America that it is in their own interest to ensure that they conduct this matter very well in a manner that will not resolve into a diplomatic row between Nigeria and America.”
He said the action of the US government towards resolving the matter in the next few days shall determine whether or not Nigeria will continue to have diplomatic ties with it.
“This is not how diplomacy is conducted and we are going to engage all our diplomatic gears to ensure that we either have a relationship with America or we do not. And I think that it is most unfair given the kind of relationship that has existed between Nigeria and America, for them to jump to this type of conclusion without even adequate consultations with all the authorities in Nigeria. This not acceptable to us and we are going to do whatever we can as a nation to prove to America that we will not take this,” Senator Eze said.
He blamed the US government and security outfits for laxity in the Christmas Day attempted bombing by a Nigerian, saying “the American President has himself clearly admitted that this is a failure of the system and the manpower of America and I do not see where Nigeria comes in here. We have also watched with keen interest several other breaches that have taken place since this boy’s attempt. There was an uninvited guest who went to the White House, he and his wife were found, that was not a Nigerian. America should look inward and search their souls. Something is wrong with their system and they should not punish ordinary Nigerians who are law abiding and good international citizens for the failure and irresponsibility of the American operatives. Nigeria will not take that.”
He said the Senate could be forced to take a drastic decision on the bi-lateral relations between the two countries should US refuse to delist Nigeria from the terror list adding, “If the situation is still there, it is going to be one of the major issues we are going to tackle and the Senate President has told me categorically that he is very unhappy about it on behalf of the leadership of the Senate, and being the Chairman of the National Assembly, it means also the National Assembly.”
Twenty three year old Nigerian Umaru Faruk Abdulmutallab was alleged on Christmas Day to have attempted to bomb an airliner over the American city of Detroit.