Nigeria has criticised new security measures for passengers flying to and from the United States as unfair and said they amounted to discrimination against 150 million people.The Nigerians have a point. Nigerians have certain notorious tendencies, as your Spam email folder attests, but blowing themselves up to kill Americans has not been notable among them. America has been quite popular in West Africa over the last decade — America has higher approval ratings in black Africa than any other large portion of the world.
The US government has announced that travellers from 14 countries, including Nigeria, are to be subjected to extra checks including body pat-downs, after a young Nigerian was accused of trying to blow up a US jet on Christmas Day.
But Nigeria Information Minister Dora Akunyili said that Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, did not have a history of terrorism and such a move could not be justified.
"It is unfair to include Nigeria on the US list for tighter screening because Nigerians do not have terrorist tendencies," Ms Akunyili said.
"It is unfair to discriminate against over 150 million people because of the behaviour of one person."
There have been intermittent clashes between Muslims and Christians within Nigeria for decades, but it has seldom spilled over out of the country.
It would make more sense to focus on Nigerians with Muslim names than Nigerians in general. A Nigerian named Goodluck Jonathan is probably not an Al Qaeda recruit, so patting him down all the time would be a waste of limited security resources.
If Barack Hussein Obama can't propose profiling people with Muslim names, who can?