Listen to article

The United States has de-listed Nigeria and 13 other nations from its list of terrorist countries, which it came up with earlier this year, following a botched attempt by a Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab, to blow up an American airliner over Detroit last Christmas Day.

The US had come up with a list of 14 countries whose citizens must compulsorily pass through enhanced screening at American borders before being allowed entry. Among the countries were Algeria, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan.

Nine of the countries, including Nigeria, were categorised by the US as 'countries of interest,' while six were considered as state-sponsors of terrorism.

Countries all over the world, including Nigeria, had reacted to US blacklist of the 14 countries, accusing the White House of not being fair.

However, a report by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, following the visit of the US Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Ms Janet Napolitano, to Nigeria about two weeks ago, revealed that Nigeria and the 13 other nations had been de-listed from the watch list.

A copy of the report, which was made available to our correspondent on Thursday, stated that the US had withdrawn the watch list and had come up with a more formidable strategy to tackle threats in aviation security discovered after the failed Christmas Day bombing.

Quoting Napolitano, the NCAA's report said, 'Last week, we also announced additional security enhancements that include using intelligence-based targeting to identify potentially threatening individuals before they are allowed to board the aircraft. These enhancements permitted us to withdraw the 14-country screening protocol put in place immediately after Christmas.

'These new, more risk-based security protocols, tailored to reflect the most current information available to the US government, will apply to all passengers travelling to the United States.'

The report, which according to aviation sources, had been presented to the Federal Executive Council, was the outcome of a global aviation safety security forum held in Abuja between April 11 and 13, 2010.

The African regional meeting was attended by ministers in charge of civil aviation in 34 African countries, four non-African countries (Canada, United Kingdom, USA and France), and three international organisations, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Air Transport Association and Airport Council International.

The purpose of the conference, according to the report, was to consider recent developments affecting civil aviation worldwide.

The report further quoted Napolitano as saying that the US was ready to work with countries, noting, 'moving forward, we must work together to understand and identify the threat; interdict the threat, and finally learn and share the lessons from that (Abdulmutallab's) experience 'areas.''