Nobel laureate sees U.S. stance as harassment of Nigerians

09:43, January 09, 2010      

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The listing of Nigeria as a security risk state by the United States amounted to a harassment of Nigerians, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka said on Thursday.

The U.S. had on Sunday listed Nigeria among 10 countries classified as security risk states. It said that passengers travelling to the U.S. from the 10 countries and four others classified as 'sponsors of terror' would face tougher security screening.

The U.S. decision came after an attempted terrorist attack by a23-year-old Nigerian, Umar AbdulMutallab, on a Delta Airlines plane at Detroit International Airport, Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day.

Soyinka told reporters in Lagos that the decision of the US to include Nigeria on the list of countries whose citizens would undergo extra security screening at US airports is punishment to innocent Nigerians.

He said the extra security screening at the airports could make a lot of Nigerians having engagements in other countries, especially in the US, to cancel their trips, adding that he was already thinking along that direction.

While acknowledging that the Nigerian government may have its pitfalls, Soyinka said the decision of the US would affect the citizens more and not the government.

"Agreed, we have our internal problems as a country, but they would have looked at other ways of dealing with the problem," the Punch quoted the respected playwright and social analyst as saying.

"Apart from harassment, many people may decide to cancel their trips. I am already revisiting my dairy to put off some trips," he said.

While condemning in totality the terrorist attempt by AbdulMutallab, Soyinka said when faced with that kind of situation, leaders of both countries ought to have opened communications link.

On the possibility of the US to rescind its decision on Nigeria, Soyinka said it was, but condemned the National Assembly for issuing a seven-day ultimatum to the US government.

He said such a decision was absurd, expressing hope that the National Assembly would see the absurdity in its action when it resumes sitting next week.

Source: Xinhua
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