Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

US screening 'risks Nigeria ties'

Lagos Airport, file image
Checking-in to Nigerian airports now takes longer

The US is risking its ties with Nigeria by asking travellers from the country to undergo stiffer airport security, Nigeria's information minister says.

Dora Akunyili said she was disappointed with the US decision, which came after a Nigerian man was charged with trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day.

Earlier senior Nigerian officials confirmed they had officially asked the US to scrap the new rules.

Another African nation subject to the new rule, Algeria, has also complained.

Algeria's US ambassador Abdellah Baali wrote in a newspaper article that the measures discriminated against against Algerians, "who pose no particular risk to Americans", the Associated Press reported.

Flights from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria (countries classified by US as state sponsors of terror)
Also, flights from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen

The new security measures - involving pat-down body checks and extra baggage searches - will also affect nationals of 12 other countries.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Ms Akunyili said Nigeria did not deserve to be on the list of countries subject to the new checks.

"Nigeria views this action as having the potential of undermining longstanding and established US-Nigeria bilateral ties," she said.

The alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, is accused of hiding explosives in his underpants and trying to detonate them over Detroit.

Nigerian officials have sought to distance their country from the alleged bomber - stressing that he left the country 10 years ago.

Nigeria has also said it has tightened its security measures since the alleged plot.

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