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04.01.2010 General News

The Boy Bomber Who Came To Town

By Daily Graphic
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I have been harassed at more airports than one on account of the out-of-fashion tropical jungle sitting over my skull.

Out of scores of already checked transit passengers making their way to the waiting lounge of a boarding gate at Heathrow more than 10 years ago, a female immigration officer stopped your good bud and took him aside, see? Then she began rummaging through my briefcase while asking me darned silly questions...

All the while, her blue eyes were fixed at a point a couple of meters above the base of my skull. Several hours of flying had left the jungle a bit unwieldy and wild. I thought to myself: If she thinks I have weapons of my mass destruction hidden in the jungle, why does she not rummage through my hair instead of the briefcase?

The tale gets even weirder with regard to the equipment for combing my jungle. The problem has always been with my back-up comb. Let me explain: My normal comb is a custom-made one which looks not too unlike a plastic garden rake. It is the only type that can do the combing job thoroughly!

Then I have this back-up comb made of long metal spike-like teeth attached to a plastic handle. I carry both along when I travel: Should I leave my hair uncombed for a day, I usually look like a member of the ape clan, which zoologists somehow neglected to give a scientific name.

The idea is that should I ever lose my plastic rake while on a journey, I can always reach out for my smaller but fairly efficient back-up.

Yet anytime I buy one, airport security people seize it, Jomo. They seized one at Gatwick once and another at Cardiff Airport another time. I found a way of denying them the pleasure of seizing my back-up at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam but they seized my deodorants. The scanner usually lets out that shrill alarm and in no time the security people are all over my bag like the global anti-terrorism squad.

The last time they seized my backup was at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. On that occasion, then Ghanaian legislator Dr Kwame Ampofo who was at the airport, having identified himself as a member of the Parliament of Ghana, assured them your good bud was a law-abiding citizen of the great republic, and that I was no terrorist at all.

“Na di rule dat, Oga’, a security official dismissed Dr Ampofo’s testimonial with an impatience wave of the hand. Now, a small Yoruba boy running a brazen errand of potential mass destruction makes the whole lot of them look like amateurs.

The boy bomber boards Northwestern Flight 253 with the deadly chemical pentaerythritol (PETN) concealed in his underwear. He has strapped to his thighs, a syringe containing a fluid that once injected into the PTN would blow up the plane to kingdom come, and they can’t catch the kid!

I wonder what it is that has kept attracting the whole planet here from the 1950s and 1960s to date. Hey, we have always referred to the “fifties”, “sixties” and “seventies.” Now how do we refer to the 2010s while omitting the century, old chap? Never mind...

I was telling you what a motley crowd has kept trooping here from around the world, wasn’t I? Africa’s endangered freedom fighters of the seventies, the CIA, drug barons, 419 swindlers and other scam artists, armed robbers, fugitives from justice and car thieves.

In the wake of the botched attempt to blow up Northwestern Flight 253, Veterans Today says Ghana where would-be bomber Abdulmutalab bought his plane ticket from, had become a very likely operational ground for al Qaeda. VT is made up of writers, journalists and American war veterans with an interest in global security, who have been monitoring terrorist activates around the world.

VT says as far as the terrorist threat is concerned, Ghana and Nigeria are “accidents waiting to happen.” The group thinks Northern Ghana will be the most likely al Qaeda base. I suspect that their evaluation is based on previous references to Northern Ghana as “predominantly Moslem.” The truth is that any part of the country could well be a secret base for any radical international political activity. See how I am struggling for words, buddy?

President Mills has other internal security threats to worry about in coming years; armed robbery, political and ethnic violence. Then there are the so-called land guards.

There is no reference anywhere in the statutes of Ghana giving legitimacy to any such grouping. What we have gathered so far is that they are armed with deadly weapons. That there is unbridled chaos in land administration in the country and people are selling the same parcel of land to a million people.

That estate developers and others who have acquired vast stretches of land and found themselves in litigation with many others claiming ownership of the same land, have settled on the idea of land guards as a solution. These are illegal private armies. It speculated that when they are not going to war to kill or break bones of people they are engaged in armed robbery.

An ever present security threat is the mass propensity toward violence and social discipline. The indiscipline is just t-o-o-o much.

They say too much freedom can be very bad for your moral and spiritual health. If in a country like the United States, the freedom of the individual is near absolute, it is because the law enforcement apparatus is more than efficient and will grab you straightaway if you stray a millimetre from the line.

What is more, the law is never in short supply of appropriately worded criminal charges to take care of even the mildest form of the kind of misbehaviour people in our part of the world get away with, with impunity every day.

American actor Charlie Sheen spent Christmas holidays behind bars. The police arrested him for “second degree assault’ and “menacing.” What is menacing Jomo?

The news report of his arrest probably meant “menacing behaviour. If we arrested people for menacing behaviour and hauled them before judges by the day you would see how many uncouth people in this country would begin to behave themselves, yes sir.

Wait a minute, the police pinned a third charge on Sheen: Criminal mischief. Wow. I love that one. What is criminal mischief? Sounds like the kind of crime many people are committing daily here and getting away with.

Happy New Year, old chap although I dare say, I am far form happy, having had to endure three whole days without electricity supply to the office and the house. Talk about beginning a New Year with a roaring crisis!

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