The father of Umar Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, who was convicted to multiple life sentences in the United States of America (U.S.A) for an attempted terror attack, has expressed the wish to see his son before he dies.
Abdul-Mutallab was convicted in 2012 for an attempted terror attack on a Northwest Airlines Flight 253 after he was found with an underwear strapped with explosives.
He was sentenced to four life terms plus 50 years without parole and incarcerated at ADX Florence, the Supermax Federal Prison in Colorado, U.S.A.
His father, Alhaji Umaru Abdul-Mutallab, who is the Chairman of Jaiz Bank, said he believed that his son, who has been kept incommunicado over the years, would have been remorseful.
He spoke on Tuesday at the Yaba, Lagos office of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at an event organised by the Human Rights Monitor Agenda (HURMA) to commemorate the World Human Rights Day.
The distraught father was honoured with People’s Friendly Personality Award for his philanthropic gestures.
Represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, the renowned philanthropist said he felt fulfilled that his decision to call the attention of the U.S and Nigerian authorities to the strange behaviours of his son saved the lives of over 270 people.
But he admitted that as a father, his son’s incarceration caused a pain he would bear till eternity.
Shuaib said: “He (Abdul Mutallab) is a man that has zero-tolerance for religious extremism.
“He was the one who alerted the Nigerian and American security agencies when he observed strange behaviours in his son, urging them to profile him and monitor his activities.
“At that time, he saw some behaviours that were completely contrary from what he knew about his son.
“The 2009 event vindicated him that the boy was treading a dangerous path.
“Each time I discussed with him (Abdul Mutallab), he says: ‘Imam, I have done my own as a Nigerian; I have been able to save the lives of over 270 people because if that bomb had exploded, we are talking about 279 lives that would have been lost.’
“He said he was fulfilled that he was able to save those lives.
“At the same time, it is also a pain for one’s son to be incarcerated, given three life sentences concurrently.
“He said he wouldn’t know if it would be possible in his lifetime to see his son. But if it is the wish of God that the son is not released and he leaves this world, so be it.
“But deep down in him, he wants to see a situation where perhaps the powers that be can revisit the issue, especially now that the son is very remorseful.
“For almost 12 years or so, the son has been kept in a solitary confinement where he doesn’t interact with any human being, even at the point that if he is to be given food, it is through an automatic system that would provide it.
“For a son who cannot even say whether it is morning, afternoon or night, you can really imagine the kind of trauma it is for the father.
“`It is because the man (Alhaji Mutallab) is very strong in faith and character; otherwise, many parents in a similar situation would have collapsed.
“I think the boy is more mature now, having seen the evil of the dastardly act of terrorism. It was very unfortunate that Farouk’s situation was a case of total brainwash.
“He was brainwashed; he was indoctrinated with evil ideas. Over the decade, he has shown remorseful.
“The authority should revisit his case, reintegrate him back to the society and use him as an ambassador of peace, preaching against the act of terrorism.
“That is the only way through which the world can begin to make the best use of those who have fallen into that path erroneously to re-orientate others still living in that kind of situation.”
Also speaking at the occasion, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Muiz Banire urged the U.S. government to revisit the case of Abdul-Mutallab.
Banire expressed optimism that the American judiciary could revisit the matter.
“My message to the U.S. Government is to have a reconsideration and review of the situation born out of exuberance.
“It is something that may need review and reorientation as a personality,” he said.
By our correspondent