Skip to content

From a YES student: Nigerian’s perspective on attempted Christmas Day bombing

January 12, 2010

On Christmas Day 2009, a Muslim Nigerian citizen attempted to detonate hidden plastic explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. The plane made an emergency landing in Detroit without any fatalities.

Following the incident, new restrictions were imposed on U.S travelers — i.e. restricting  movement and access to personal items during the last hour of flight for planes entering U.S. airspace. These restrictions were especially focused on travelers from countries listed on the U.S.’s list of terror nations, which after the Christmas Day incident, includes Nigeria.

One of IRIS’s YES7 students (2009-2010), 17 year-old Auwal Ahmed, volunteered to share his perspective on the situation as a Nigerian Muslim. Auwal, of Bauchi State, Nigeria, is living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and attends Cedar Rapids Washington High School.

—–

Auwal Ahmed, a YES student studying in Iowa through IRIS

Hello everyone,

Some of us are aware of the deplorable incident that happened — a young Nigerian of 23 years of age attempted to blow up a U.S airliner that traveled from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day.

It is imperative at this juncture that we write something that would help to reverse the predicaments that might be caused by this nefarious and atrocious act, which sully, vilify and drag the good reputation of Nigeria into the mud.

Actually, it does make Nigeria to be now considered as a place that harbors terrorists, and it shows Islam in the wrong way. Innocent Nigerians — businessmen, tourists, students and other peace-loving individuals like YES students — could be now victims of this event.

It is altogether proper and fitting that we must try hard to redeem our good image by displaying moral conduct and portraying the best part of Nigerian/African culture to Americans. It’s obvious that negative conceptions might creep into the minds of some Americans, and they may jump to the conclusion of stigmatizing all Nigerians or Africans with bad motives toward Americans. This is quite unfortunate!

Please! I want Americans to bear in mind that the action of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab doesn’t represent the value and virtue of Nigerians. It is just an action based on his vain desires. So please, let Nigerians/Africans not be liable for what they are not responsible for.

Another action that this incident led to is the issue of tougher passenger’s screening procedures that will be conducted for all Nigerians leaving or getting into the United States. This may cause worries and delays for Nigerians that travel frequently from Nigeria to the United States or the other way round because of business or education.

Due to the bilateral relationship that exists between the two nations,  it may now turn frosty if care is not taken. However, America is not blameworthy for this because they are trying to intensify their security system to prevent any possible turbulence in the future.

This boy really gave Nigeria the hallmark of shame, and he must face the consequences by himself and not with innocent Nigerians.

I will also use this medium to uplift and extol the virtue of the YES program as something that can help to reduce problems like this. I plead with the United States government to please keep working with IRIS to prevent such problems by allowing them to continue bringing intelligent students who are ambassadors and custodians of their good cultures from Nigeria and Tanzania to continue to educate and reciprocate good African/American culture and heritage with one another. This is worth doing, because it helps create an atmosphere of understanding and eliminates racial tension between the two communities.

YES7 [IRIS’s 2009-2010 YES students], this is a great challenge to us to redouble our effort in providing enlightenment to Americans and the entire world about good African cultures.

Conclusively, the world will not be in peace and harmonious coexistence will not be achieved among the heterogeneous population of this world unless we iron out our differences and agree to be bonded together by a symphony of brotherhood. With this we can achieve peace at all levels — regionally, nationally and internationally. The world is a global village where we all live.

Advertisements
9 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Ishaya permalink
    January 13, 2010 4:03 AM

    Good job Auwal, I agree with all I read And I am sure that the future of Africa is in our hands lets stop the differences and tret each other as brothers

  2. Kimberly Hope Athay permalink
    January 13, 2010 8:04 PM

    This is such an awesome and well written piece by Auwal. I hope that all Americans will understand that one person from any country can’t be the poster child for any country and the people that live there. I also hope that the YES program in these countries will be brought back to ensure continued positive relations between Americans and the rest of the world.

  3. iriscenter permalink
    January 15, 2010 5:28 PM

    An interesting sidebar note to Auwal’s post is that the 2009 Pew Global Attitudes Survey shows that opinions about the U.S. by Nigerians has improved since the YES program began there in 2003. In 2003, 61% of Nigerians gave the U.S. a favorable rating. That number is now up to 79%.

    Here’s the link to the survey.
    http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=264

  4. Vicki Siefers permalink
    January 16, 2010 12:46 AM

    This is an excellent editorial and I think it should be sent to some of the Iowa newspapers.

  5. January 16, 2010 1:44 AM

    Auwal you did a wonderful job by writing about that, i was very sad when i heard about what happened and i hope that all people(American’s) will understand that we Nigerian’s are not like that and that we mean no harm to any one, i really loved what you did, just keep it up .

  6. Riinret Marian Dadirep permalink
    January 16, 2010 8:33 PM

    Really impressive! Well done Auwal! I totally agree with write up, i was having fun celebrating christmas with my family and friends in london when i switched on the TV and heard the horrible situation that had just occured. It broke my heart! its really depressing and horrible. Nevertheless i just want to say more grease to your elbows, keep writing and have fun as a YES student. Good Job.

  7. Riinret Marian Dadirep permalink
    January 16, 2010 8:34 PM

    Really impressive! Well done Auwal! I totally agree with the write up, i was having fun celebrating christmas with my family and friends in london when i switched on the TV and heard the horrible situation that had just occured. It broke my heart! its really depressing and horrible. Nevertheless i just want to say more grease to your elbows, keep writing and have fun as a YES student. Good Job.

  8. Cayla permalink
    January 18, 2010 9:35 PM

    Thanks for your wonderful article, Auwal! I hope that you are doing well. 🙂

  9. February 2, 2012 7:52 AM

    Auwal, when this article was written in 2010 am sure it was cool. And would have been applauded to the high mountains even in Nigeria. Presently (2012) as Boko Haram is turning the whole Nigeria upside down ironically in direct protest against western influence. The same views that motivated Abdul Mutalab i’ll say good persons like you should be much more proactive in condemning and exposing this wicked persons whose activities rub off negatively on your good person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: