Nigeria may have been delisted from the countries that harbour or sponsor terrorism against the United States (US) and its allies which was the source of diplomatic tension between the two countries following the ill-fated attempt by a foreign based Nigerian student, Farouk Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab, to bomb a plane in Detroit, US on December 25, 2009.
Nigeria’s external image took a dip in January 2010, when the US placed the country on global terror list following the failed attempt by Abdulmutallab to detonate the bomb strapped to his pants while, on the domestic front, there have been a spate of bomb blasts targeted at politicians, the security agencies, churches and academic institutions by the Boko Haram sect operating in the northern part of the country.
Foreign Affairs Ministry say that Washington has removed Nigeria’s name from the terror watch list which subjects Nigerians as well as nationals from the listed countries to special security checks on their arrival to the US.
The sources said that before he was inaugurated on May 29,2011, President Goodluck Jonathan took steps to address the impression created by the action of the US authorities as Nigeria was not a known base for terrorist groups neither is the economic interest of the US and safety of its nationals in Nigeria in peril. The insinuation by an MI5 agent, according to the sources, that Al-Qaeda planned to use Nigeria as its operational base is without foundation.
Nigeria also took steps to convince the American leadership that “Nigeria as a state does not sponsor terrorism against its citizens or its neighbours or indeed other countries, regardless of differences in their foreign policy orientation and disposition.” One of the sources added:”It was therefore an overreaction on the part of the US authorities to use the action of one youth to brand, target and subject over 150million other people to odious treatment, through invasive searches and other humiliating security checks”.
France, Germany and Britain have indicated their willingness to aid Nigeria on the war against terrorism. The sources said the support by the EU countries will come in form of training for security agencies and provision of technical support to counter terrorism in the country.