The suspected perpetrator of the attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day is said to be the son of a former minister and a well-known banker in Nigeria. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab has just retired from his position as the Chairman of First Bank Nigeria.
Reports revealed that the elder Mutallab had gone from his hometown of Katsina in Northern Nigeria on Saturday to talk to security agencies. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab was apparently concerned about what was termed in the article as “his son’s fanatical religious views in recent months”. The father was said to have reported the activities of his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to the U.S. Embassy as well as the Nigerian security agencies half a year ago.
Upon learning that his son was arrested for allegedly trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane, he was “devastated” and “shocked” that his son was allowed to travel to the United States.
While there was a file created for Abdulmutallab, there was not enough negative information to merit listing the young man on the “no-fly” list, at least as of December 25, 2009.
Based on various news reports, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab led a rather privileged life. He studied at the British International School in Togo, where he was known as someone with “extreme religious views”. He was also reported to preach Islam to his classmates, who referred to him as “Alfa” – the “Islamic scholar”.
He studied engineering at the University College in London, and lived in Egypt and then in Dubai. It was while living in Dubai when the young Abdulmutallab told his family that “he didn’t want anything to do with them ever again”.