A renowned philanthropist, Alhaji Umar Abdul-Mutallab, yesterday called on the authorities in the United State and Nigeria to revisit the life sentence of his son, Umar Faoruk, who was convicted in 2012 for an attempted terror attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 after he was found with 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, United States.
Speaking yesterday at an event where he was honoured with People’s Friendly Personality Award in Lagos by the Human Rights Monitor Agenda (HURMA), Abdul-Muttalab said his son’s incarceration was a pain he would bear till for life.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Muiz Banire, who was the guest speaker, expressed optimism that the case of young Abdul-Muttalab could be reconsidered as it was borne out of youthful exuberance.
Represented by the chief executive officer of Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation, Imam Shuaib Abdullahi, Abdul-Muttalab said he felt fulfilled that his decision to call attention of the US and Nigerian authorities to the strange behaviours of his son saved the lives of over 270 people.
According to him, having spent years behind the bar, his son must have learnt his lesson and he could be an ambassador for peace and preaching against terrorism globally.
Abdullahi said: “Each time I discussed with him, he tells me that 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 of 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 him 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 life time for him to see his son but if it is the wish of God that the son is not released and he lives 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 because almost going to 12 years or so, the son is kept in a solitary confinement where he doesn’t interact with any human being even to the point that if he is to be given food, it is through an automatic system that would provide the food.
“For a son who cannot even say whether it is morning, afternoon or night, you can really imagine the trauma it is going to be for the father”.