Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hillary Clinton blames Nigeria leaders for extremism

Lagos Airport, file image
Security has been tightened at Nigerian airports

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has blamed failings by Nigerian leaders for increasing "radicalisation" among young Nigerians.

She pointed to poor living standards and "unbelievable" corruption.

Mrs Clinton was speaking after a young Nigerian man from a wealthy family was accused of trying to blow up a plane over the US on Christmas Day.

She said she believed that bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was "disturbed by his father's wealth".

The Nigerian government has not responded to Mrs Clinton's criticism.

Anti-state uprisings

Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil exporters but most of its people live in poverty.

With its large impoverished Muslim population and oil industry, Western diplomats have long feared that Nigeria could be a prime target for al-Qaeda.

Hillary Clinton
There has to be a recognition that in the last 10 years, a lot of the indicators about quality of life in Nigeria have gone the wrong direction
Hillary Clinton

But there have been no known al-Qaeda attacks in the country.

However, there have been several violent uprisings against the state by local radical Muslim sects.

Mrs Clinton was speaking at a "town hall" meeting with state department officials.

"I do think that Nigeria faces a threat from increasing radicalisation that needs to be addressed, and not just by military means," she said.

"There has to be a recognition that, in the last 10 years, a lot of the indicators about quality of life in Nigeria have gone the wrong direction.

"The information we have on the Christmas Day bomber so far seems to suggest that he was disturbed by his father's wealth and the kind of living conditions that he viewed as being not Islamic enough."

Following the alleged plot, security screening for Nigerians travelling to the US has been tightened.

Nigeria's government has condemned the measures, saying 150 million Nigerians should not be blamed for the actions of one man.

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

Mr Abdulmutallab has reportedly admitted undergoing military training with al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

Who do you think is to blame for the extremism among some young Nigerians? Do you agree with Mrs Clinton's criticism?

Thanks for your comments. Please read a selection below:

it's quite unfortunate that it takes an outsider to say the truth before it's considered to true. ask the minister for justice the same question with a proof, he would say it's a lie, ask the minister for foreign affairs, the same thing. Mrs Clinton, thank you o, you as well note that the Nigeria senate had deliberated on muttallab's issue and recommended the father commended for reporting his son to the us authority six months earlier, this shows the kind of people who claims to be our leaders, they have failed us. Nigeria wake up!!
ohio.ola.isaiah, lagos,nigeria

As much as I want to disagree with Mrs. Clinton, I know she is saying the truth. My home country Nigeria is heading to the wrong direction. People I grew up with in Nigeria are hard workers who studied hard to put themselves a better situation. However, the government does not have any plans to develop the country so that youths can be gainfully employed in the country. The leadership of the country is so corrupt that people now ignore it. Everybody clamour to get rich fast at the expense of the other man. My country Nigeria is in every book you can think of, both good and bad. Leadership is failing the nation and the youth is angry.
Francis U. Okafor, Kansas City

The sentiments of Hillary about Nigeria may be true and applicable to even KENYA.
Hudson Nyaberi, Nairobi, Kenya

A very big thank you to Hillary Clinton. She is my kind of lady. Is Mutallab senior's wealth legitimate? Well, l hold my peace.
Elizabeth Osegi, London

Mrs Clinton did not say anything new. Corruption is wreaking havoc with nearly the same ruthlessness as a killer disease, it is our own "natural disaster". The question is: what is the US as the leader of the free world doing about it? Gladly welcoming rogue leaders and banking their stolen funds do not sound like taking a hard stance. Posterity will not judge fairly the long list of American leaders who have continually maintained the position of "onlookers" while Nigeria's promise was and is being wasted by thieving leaders.
Seyi Oladipo, Lagos, Nigeria

I totally disagree with Hilary Clinton, the challenges faced by Nigeria has nothing to do with the failed Christmas day bombing by a Nigerian.

To God be the glory that it never happened and I wish the West can learn a lot to help improve intelligence to combat these wicked terrorist extremist from carrying out future attack than wasting time to lay blame on a country and tagging Nigeria a terrorist nation.

This young man was educated in Britain and recruited by Al-Qaeda in London.

Please let all countries share information and intelligence to prevent future attacks and stop labelling Nigeria.

Some individuals from other countries which I would not like to mention have gone astray and attempted or plotted terrorist attacks yet their countries has not be labelled a terrorist country.

We all know who the terrorist are and their reason for terrorism.

So the earlier its tackled from its roots the better and peaceful world we will all have.
Daniel Igwe, Glasgow UK

Hilary's comments are most unfortunate. Some of her points are factual though. The facts are, the AbdulMuttalab's dad's wealth has nothing to do with the bombing. The US should be ashamed that despite the fact that AbdulMuttalab Senior reported his sin's activities, the authorities in the US went to sleep.

Standard of Living in Nigeria has deteriorated over the last 10 years, principally because of Bad Leaders who loot the treasury, and take all the stolen wealth to the west.

The US should rather than label Nigeria, sit down and fashion out ways to take her back to the right direction. Posterity will never forgive US (vested with both the responsibility and opportunity) if Nigeria fails. Regards
Titilayo Oluwaseun Ilesanmi, Oxford, UK

If only Nigerians can lean how to stay in their country so that the rate of exchange rate between the dollars and naira can become bearable and minimum, if only the youth can mount wings like that of an eagle to cause revolution. All we need is a change of ideology.
Eteng Samuel Oka, Lagos

Nigeria has it's problems, but what data is she going on to not only correlate these issues with terrorist but assume causation as well? I suppose not much. I mean I live in Chicago (very corrupt), there is wealth, and a lot of Muslims. Is Chicago a terrorist breeding ground? By the way do not refer to Hillary as the West. That is just making the same mistake she made. :D
Mike, Chicago

Willy in Abuja wrote "What has poor living conditions and corruption in Nigeria got to do with a young man trained in Europe/America, recruited in the UK, trained as a terrorist in Yemen, boarded a plane in the Netherlands for a suicide expedition in the US." I think quite a lot, actually. For if not for corruption and the associated state of affairs in Nigeria, this guy would have had all his education in Nigeria, under the watchful eyes of his parents, and most likely would have not taken the path he has taken!

It is also very interesting that some comments here are all about splitting Nigeria. Does that mean the citizens of the "new countries" would suddenly be transformed into individuals with different values to the ones they exhibit now?
Tunde, London, UK

Thank you Mrs Clinton. You just summarised the totality of the reason why we have not been able to make progress as a country. The Bible says righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach. Corruption is of one of our sins as a nation and we are not ready to change at all. Only God can deliver us from these captives of men. I hope US and other developed nations would not fold their arms until Al-Qaeda invade the country.
Dare Arogbo, London, UK

You all seem to be missing the point that in an oil rich country who is buying the Oil to corrupt the politicians? Who is it offering personal wealth in favour of cheap Nigerian oil? Look at who is gaining from dealing with the corrupt of these nations? the corrupters will not deal with the honest, they will overthrow the honest and put in their own corrupt leader! Africa did not corrupt itself to benefit the west, that's a fact!
Danny, Manchester

I am quite in agreement with Mrs. Clinton. She seems to know the problems confronting us as a nation than many Nigerians do. Let no body attempt to shut her mouth from saying what she knows about Nigeria especially the political class. Truth is bitter hence we find it difficult to accept her comment in good faith. She does not mean harm to us rather we should use her comment wisely to correct our mistakes. However, I have problem with U.S.A. They know the problems of Nigeria but no America Government has ever made any acceptable effort to assist Nigeria instead they prefer to criminalize and despise us
Austine E, Abuja, Nigeria

Mrs. Clinton is just understating the obvious. You need to see the army of jobless "Almajiris" (street beggars)in Northern Nigeria especially to appreciate her comments. But more painful is the visionlessness of all the rulers including elected rulers, government officials, emirs and all the elites who are very corrupt. Sooner or later, Nigeria will degenerate into a hobbersian state of all against all. No one can stop it.
Aminu Mohammed, Nigeria

I think what Hillary meant was the diversity of corruption in Nigeria is gradually turning the country into a state of no mans land. Mr mutallab Jnr was probably never checked at the airport because he could afford to give bribe and this is why the line of entry was targeted in Nigeria though radicalised in UK and planned in Yemen. As long as our Airport officials eg line of custom officer begging for bribe publicly without shame, police on the roads begging for bribe without shame, civil servant begging for bribes before awarding contract without shame, Junior clerk, supervisors, accountants and bank managers begging for bribe before granting loan without shame and finally top government officers begging for bribe even from fellow foreign politicians, we will get more crisis in jos , kano, borno and more Mutallab JNR. The government favours this kind of action. Ahaa i forgot the army, the interior ministry and the Ports Authority. I think this is the highest time retired diaspora with courage should return to nigeria to rebuild the devastated country of ours. I think enough is enough.
onyeke, hull, uk

Ms Clinton's comments are very accurate. Unfortunately, no one can change the stripes in the tiger- the politicians and their cronies have reached a point of no return in corruption and deliberate misrule. These politicians know that Nigeria can never be one, hence they are harvesting for the rainy day. Therefore, America can only be summoned to act fast in saving time for the people of Nigeria. Otherwise, the country would become a disgrace to humanity, like Somalia.
Walson Ibarakumo Brandon, Port Harcourt,, Nigeria

I think the current US administration handles terrorism much better than the Bush administration. Instead of denouncing Nigeria as part of the 'axis of evil', the US tries hard to deliver a fair picture of Nigeria. That is a real improvement in diplomacy. Hope the next administration (be it another Obama 4 years or someone else) keeps it that way.
D. Wunderli, Zurich

This story gives the impression that there is a serious increasing "radicalisation" of young Nigerians. Now Nigeria has a lot of problems but this does seem an exaggeration. Yes, there is corruption, Yes there is poverty in Nigeria (one of the world's biggest oil exporters). However the corruption, poverty and lack of leadership is more likely to produce people like Mohammed Yusuf the Muslim sect leader and founder of militant Islamist Boko Haram than create radicals like the bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The difference being that one extremist targeted Nigeria and the other attempted to export his violence. I think the West has little to fear from young radical Nigerians. The corruption, poverty and lack of leadership is more likely to fuel such religiously-motivated disturbances as seen between Muslims and Christians in (Jos) central Nigeria and the religious sect that wants to impose Shari law in the country.
Jimi Dacosta, London, UK

A tree cannot make a forest. The effort of one man that disturb Mrs. Clinton mind has got nothing to do with poverty. This boy is not fighting on behalf of the poor people hence madam Clinton is addressing another issue at the wrong time. Do your best to talk about corruption in the country at the right time. After all, billions of this money are in the west. Look at the cost of this boy father's house in London. POVERTY, LET IT BE ANOTHER TOPIC. Don't link them together.
sola akinola, Ado-Ekiti

Mrs. Clinton has the right to say what she wants to say but I guess she is not aware of certain facts. The conditions she alleges are in Nigeria may be true but this does not result in extremism. Funny enough Abdulmutallab never lived in these conditions Mrs. Clinton has brilliantly elucidated. I would like to remind her of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the US adventures in the far east countries of Korea and Vietnam. Do the conditions in Nigeria remotely resemble those in these countries where there are extremist? I would also like to remind her of the Guyana Tragedy or the indecent of David Koresh in Waco Texas or Timothy McVeigh or even Richard Reid. These were not Nigerians in fact if I can recall, some of these extremist were from the US, what an irony I think Obama should hire a new Secretary of State.
Emmanuel Edet, Abuja, Nigeria

Thank you Mrs Clinton for saying the truth. Can I ask you to now go a step further by doing the following.

1: Please publish the names of all The Nigerians involved in the Halliburton Scandal.

2: Please send a message to the Nigerian Armed Forces that any attempt by them to seize power will be rejected by the US.

3: Revoke all visas issued to any Nigerian leader who you have reason to believe is corrupt(Trust me this will hurt them where it hurts)

Hillary Clinton is absolutely right! There's a clear signal on the way corruption is eating deep in Nigerian system. I give her the credit for calling a spade a spade. Nigerian leaders are bunch of dirty greedy snarling pigs!
Truth-Hurts, Lagos, Nigeria

I've always had a lot of respect for the Clintons but Hillary's argument here doesn't quite make sense to me on this occasion. How does corruption and poor standards of living in Nigeria, cause a rich kid, educated in the UK and travelling around the world (something most Nigerians would only dream of) to plan a terrorist attack on the United States???!! Am I missing something here? The suffering of the Nigerian people has been there long since before Al-Qaeda became a favourite headline of the western media. Nigerians were not terrorists then and we are not terrorists now.
Chibuzo Okoro, Basingstoke, UK

I want to state clearly that Nigeria is not a failed nation but a growing nation, gold goes through fire to come out brighter. So is Nigeria. Every country has its own problem, which helps its leaders correct what ever decision or act not properly done. About terrorism Nigerians should never be mistaken as one, after the Nigerian civil war of 1966. Nigerians have been very careful to avoid any thing that could degenerate to war, not to talk of executing oneself amongst others. This news should be channelled towards the far east, europe and america. Where individuals take their own lives at every blink. Nigerians are good people and not terrorist.
Engr. Mike, Abuja

The basket case that Nigeria has become has complex strands, but as humans, we need to simplify problems in order to find someone to blame. It is not likely that Abdulmutallab junior was driven by poverty to attempt his heinous crime. He may have been indoctrinated to think that his violent action was vengeance against perceived injustice, but no sane person will accept that the killing hundreds of innocent civilians will serve as atonement for the failings of a country's leaders. Mrs Clinton has had her say and her administration has had their way by increasing the humiliation and distress of innocent Nigerians entering their country. But neither she not Barrack Obama is doing much to address Nigeria's root problems - until the next high profile disaster. Nigerians, you are on your own.
Barry, Joburg, South Africa

Asking Nigeria to practise true democracy is like asking a cow to learn to fly. We have 3 options. Split to three, go back to military rule, or continue with the status quo where the legislators are even frightened to pass the freedom of information bill.
ayo ojo, England

Mrs. Clinton is correct! Nigeria is the world's most corrupt nation....PERIOD. Soaked in the sauce of complete corruption. The northern elite control money, but don't distribute to anybody other then their elites friends, while muslims in the north suffer, as well as The people in the Niger Delta and the Igbo of the south. Nigeria has no direction, the only country in the world who's head of state is MIA. The desire to hold on to power and the desire for unending wealth has been this country's undoing. Nigeria is an official failed state!!!
Okey, toronto

Look in a rare view what clinton said about farouk pa is not good but about nigerian govt "YES" perfectly true like me am from nigeria one of opec member also am from niger delta which produces those oil where is the money am still suffering no food no money to put in our pocket wat do u expect us to do just be in our shoes. see we dey vex o... We dont care about farouk cos he did that for fame. they have money like his father will be having a hundred million in one bank on his account in nigeria for his son not talking about offshore accounts.
Kennedy, G4 Ph city (nigeria)

I think America should concentrate on their inefficiencies and leave Nigeria alone....

Recall that Abdulmutallab senior reported his son to the US but they did nothing about it. The CIA, FBI and all the acronyms were inefficient and failed in their duties...

Nigeria is going through a lot right now and we know that only God can see us through...
Onyinye , Lagos, Nigeria

Mrs Clinton couldn't be more accurate. Preach it lady! We have been yelling screening and banging that someone from the free world should hear us out. Is Nigeria Rich, yes! Is Nigeria Endowed with resources [Human and natural!! of course yes Yes!! But what sort of leaders? Rouges, shameless, selfish egoist individuals.

Posterity will not spare the so called free nations if they can intervene in Iraq, North Korea etc and then spare the leaders of a rich country like Nigeria whose citizens are picking from the bins. At times I am ashamed to answer a Nigeria, not that I would have preferred to belong any other nation on earth but because our leaders do not reason from their heads but from 'below'.
Vincent Ogadimma , Cuffley

I think she got it all wrong, the man we are talking about didn't grow up in Nigeria and as a matter of fact, a Nigerian man can never die as a terrorist, because he will like to enjoy his money he hassle for or stay without money. Nigerians are over populated and that has cause many form of corruption. The only way to solve this problem is to divide the country into 4.
Josiah Gerald, London England

You all are not getting it. That guy with all his father's riches was a lonely man. His father may have sent him to the best schools, but that is not what makes a man. They say teach a man to fish and he will feed himself forever. The boy had everything but didn't know what he was living for. After all, the father worked, why didn't he give his son the opportunity to live his own life and make his own mistakes. The father is also one of the so called elites who have plunged the country into great abyss of poverty. My only anger was that he chose to bomb people in America. He would have done well if he did that on a plane full of these politicians and elites of Nigeria. That would have done a lot to help Nigerians to choose new leaders.
Ijogbon, Cape Town

Mrs Clinton got it all wrong! Majority of the richest men in Nigeria today are Northern Muslims, Abdulmutalab's father inclusive. What has poor living conditions and corruption in Nigeria got to do with a young man trained in Europe/America, recruited in the UK, trained as a terrorist in Yemen, boarded a plane in the Netherlands for a suicide expedition in the US. Common Mrs Clinton!
Willy, Abuja Nigeria

Please the only problem wit Nigeria is that Nigeria is too big to be one country. Mrs Clinton please help us will are dying in this country. God bless you and America.
Paul amadi, Imo state, biafra

I think the Nigerian government should be blamed. It's high time we call a spade a spade & stop deceiving ourselves. The youths in Nigeria are surfering & there is no hope for the common man & this has led many Nigerians in to all kind of malice practices in order to earn a living & survive. In Nigeria the leaders are corrupt, greedy & visionless. The problem with Nigeria is ethnic rivalry for the country is too large to be governed as one entity. I think the country should b divided in to three independent state. Take a look of what is happening in Nigerian politics today, the country has stayed for so many days without a president & no information is forthcoming about his whereabout. In fact the rumour spreading in the country is that the president is dead. Because of this issue at hand, the Hausa tribe which the president is from has sworn never to allow the vice president to start acting as the president because he is not from their tribe. If care is not taken, this country we go in to war with each other sooner/later & it will only take God's intervention for this not to happen.
Nicholas, Nigeria

Bla bla bla bla. Anyone else noticed the bloated arrogance of the "west".

Abdulmutallab was radicalized in the United Kingdom not Nigeria.

Separate the obvious Nigerian problem of mismanagement, clashes in Northern Nigeria and someone trying to bomb your country

I will flog all my leaders and elders for exposing to the ridicule of both the strong and useless of the west!

In the mean time, i will enjoy China's stance against the west "lol"
Ola, Lagos

I don't think she got it all, America has always been over exaggerating things, there are more violent and crimes in America than Nigeria even though it doesn't take the form of the kind of violence we do see in Nigeria, and Nigeria do not have those kind of extremist. I quite agree with her on poor governance and corruption.
Edwin Nebolisa, A Nigerian living in the Gambia

I think Mrs Clinton is correct. But I don't think that's enough reason to classify Nigeria as a terrorist nation, and screen Nigerians like they are criminals. This is very unfair.
Christian, Yenagoa/Nigeria

In as much as I agree with Mrs Clinton on the unbelievable levels of corruption in Nigeria, creating unbelievable poverty in the land. However, I totally disagree that the elder Mutallab's legitimate wealth somehow contributed to the son's actions. If that be the case, then the Aliko Dangote's an industrialist, the Dantata's whose family wealth is as old as the Rockefeller's just to name a few, will all be terrorist. A parent should not be blamed for trying to position his child education wise, for the challenges ahead. If anything his father should be congratulated for doing what most parents will not do, reporting an earring child to the authorities, as painful as it is to do so.
Stanley Duru, Abuja, Nigeria

America didn't hesitate to label Nigeria has a terrorist Nation because of Abdumutallab's actions but they purposely Ignored the fact that he was radicalised and recruited in the UK. Why is the UK not labelled as a terrorist nation? even after the shoe bomber? This is racism and Nigerian youths are no extremists!
Afolalu Charles, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigerians should not be blamed for that act of one bad boy. The boy is on his own he should be punished for that bad stupid act.
Charles, Abia State, Nigeria

Having recently relocated to Nigeria from the UK to coordinate a community based organisation in Lagos I know that Nigeria has a larger number of creative and enterprising youth. Unfortunately however most political leaders do not seem to have put meaningful youth development on the agenda. many of our leaders seem only to be interested in amassing wealth by any means possible leaving a ticking time bomb of youth unemployment and underemployment.

When youth have no means of making a meaningful life existence then they will be tools in the hands of extremists. Many youth are honestly appalled by their lack of opportunities and seek means to address this injustice. So yes by default and inaction our leaders are responsible for youth extremism among youth in Nigeria
Yomi Oloko, Lagos

As a Nigerian i think we are responsible for our problems. A section of the country lives in unimaginable wealth in direct contrast to the quality of life of the majority. No questions are asked, there is no dignity of labour. Some Nigerian youth feel the failed bomber should have targeted the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. I agree with Mrs Clinton.
yomi johnson, Lagos, Nigeria

I would rule Mrs. Clinton wrong on her saying the standard of living in this country is deteriorating for there is vast improvement over the years, as for the terrorist Abdul he did not live and school in Nigeria so he would not act as a true Nigeria.
Solomon Danladi, Jos Nigeria

I agree with her to the extent that the systemic failure in Nigeria has entrenched bad leadership that enable youth fall victims of extreme views.

President Obama has said it, we don't need men, because they will die and can disappoint. What we need are "strong institutions". Institutions that will ensure the system works, if the system works, good leadership will be entrenched.

However, your reported is unfair to say "its large impoverished Muslim population". This gives the impression that only Muslim population in Nigeria are impoverished, rather the entire country, be it Muslim, Christians or traditionalists. I will be happy if this is corrected.
Lekan, UK

I strongly agreed with what Mrs. Clinton said about our failing leaders .
Dikko Ibrahim, Nigeria

American embassy in Nigeria grants visa premeditatively. The right people are never given visa. I had been a victim. Hillary has the right to a free speech, but she is always wrong in her perception of Nigeria. Nigerians are good people.
Iyefe Lanikoniyo, Nigeria (Paradise on earth)

Government should be blames for the poverty and the Westerns World should be blame as well for the extremism act in Nigeria.

who keep the stolen money for the Govt in Nigeria? Westerner / US.

Who encourage Africans Govt to steal more & more money? Westerner / US (Buying Luxurious and paying huge tax to their Govt).

Who assist them to travel to exile to seek refugee, if alarm blow? Westerners / US.

Where is Cecilia Ibrus, Ibori, IBB, OBJ, Atiku and Tinubu kept there stolen wealth? Switzerland.

Hilary Clinton should say something else and stop blaming games.

Is Chevron paying the right tax to the revenue of Nigeria. What about Corporate Social Responsibilities to the welfare of people?

We young generation are coming with unique ideas of changing the face of Nigeria as a nation.
Hammed Bolaji, Dublin, Ireland

I strongly agree with mama clinton because of uneven wealth distribution makes the poor think r worthless n hopeless n need to revenge just to annoy!
Dr.kissanga, Tanzania

Most young people in Nigeria are disillusioned and desperate... The stifling weight of corruption and the worsening economy are driving some to seek avenues for the expression of their anger.
Chinedu madu, Orlu, Nigeria

Nothing can be further from the truth. Nigerian rulers (they are not leaders) have not only failed the country, they have failed Africa and the black world. The level of what Mrs. Clinton called unbelievable corruption is understatement compare to the recklessness by which the rulers are violating the country's constitution in order to perpetuate their grip on the suffering Nigerian masses. It is just a matter of time before the country would be declared a failed state and the international community ought to step in now to prevent another Yugoslavia, Liberia, Burundi or Congo.
Abiola Falayajo Jr., Ipetu-Ijesha, osun state

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