- Title: NIGERIA: Nigerians say there are no Al Qaeda cells in the country
- Date: 7th January 2010
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 22nd January 2010 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAMGKW3TE7JJX0UFPXDDAY7QBU
- Story Text: Nigerians said on Wednesday (January 6) that there were no al Qaeda cells in the country and argued that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to bring down a U.S. airliner on Christmas day, could have been a citizen of any other country in the world.
Nigeria became a focus because Umar Farouk Adbulmutallab, whom the U.S. believe was trained by an al Qaeda group in Yemen, began his journey at the Lagos International Airport on December 24.
A Muslim cleric at Lagos's central mosque said the group did not exist in the country adding that the true meaning of the Arabic words al Qaeda had fallen into wrong hands.
"Talking about al Qaeda, I don't know anything about them, I don't practise it," Abdulkadir Moyosore said. "I think what al Qaeda means is what someone is purposed to do, an 'intentional deed', some use it to do good while others use it for evil."
Another Muslim cleric, Ibrahim Afeez, said al Qaeda was now more associated with attacks than good deeds.
"Al Qaeda in our own Islamic way simply means 'intentional deeds' and intentional deeds in Islam has to be in the right parts not to be in the wrong path," Afeez said.
He added that the right part of al Qaeda was to fight for the will of God and to accommodate people of all kinds.
Razak Dawodu on his part also denounced violence and said he was not aware of any groups operating in the country.
"You are not supposed to kill because you did not create him or her, it's only God who creates and what you did not create you are not supposed to kill," the cleric said.
Salako Opeolu, a Lagos resident is convinced that al Qaeda cells may exist elsewhere in the world but not in Nigeria.
"There's nothing like al Qaeda here in Nigeria, because every good Nigerian, what they want is just how to make littlemeet," he told Reuters.
Charles Idemudia, a Lagos based engineer, said he believed there were no al Qaeda cells thriving in Nigeria and that the attempted airline bomber was not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
"Abdulmutallab could have been from any country, Western world, wherever, that has the same belief that the al Qaeda group represents, and is a citizen from whatever country it could be, and they found him vulnerable to their tendencies and decided to utilise him to their own gain," he said.
Adbulmutallab is due to appear in a U.S court on Friday (January 8).
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