Nigeria's information minister, Dora Akunyili, speaks during a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria, on Dec. 27, 2009.

January 6, 2010

After the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, the United States imposed new security measures on travelers from 14 nations, including Nigeria. Those travelers now face full body searches, among other requirements.

The suspect in the Christmas Day incident is Nigerian, and the new U.S. screening requirements have created a stir in Nigeria, infuriating people in the West African nation. Headlines in the country suggest that Nigerians are being treated like lepers.

In an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, Nigeria’s minister of information, Dora Akunyili, says that other countries have not been subject to the same measures following similar incidents.

‘Unfair Discrimination’

“If extra scrutiny would be given to travelers from all over the world, that’s fine,” Akunyili says. “But when few countries are singled out, and Nigeria is one of those few countries, then it becomes very painful to us, especially when we know that in this country we don’t have terrorist tendencies. We feel that this is unfair discrimination. The population [of Nigeria] is over 150 million people — we are being defined by the behavior of one person.”

Akunyili points out that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged attempted bomber, spent almost his entire life outside Nigeria. He attended secondary school in Togo, university in London and postgraduate studies in Dubai. After leaving Dubai, he went to Yemen… Read More

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