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US security rules will harm relations with Nigeria, Abuja warns

New US security restrictions on air passengers from Nigeria are likely to harm ties between the two countries, the government in Abuja has warned. New security regulations were introduced after an attempted attack on a US-bound plane on Dec. 25.

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AFP - New US security restrictions on air passengers from Nigeria are likely to harm ties between the two countries, the government in Abuja warned on Wednesday.

Nigeria "views this action as having the potential of undermining long-standing and established US-Nigeria bilateral ties and the goodwill the US enjoys in Nigeria," Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters.

"Nigeria expresses its disappointment and concern over the undeserved placement of Nigeria on the countries-of-interest list," said Akunyili, reading from a statement released after a cabinet meeting.

Washington on Sunday introduced new security measures for passengers flying to the United States from 14 countries, after a 23-year-old Nigerian was accused of trying to blow up a US jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a trained mechanical engineer, who had explosives sewn into his underwear, had boarded a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He had flown to Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos.

"Nigeria has since December 25 expressed its deep sorrow and dismay over the incident which it condemned in all its ramifications," the statement said.

"It is on record that Nigeria has signed and ratified nine out of 16 UN and AU (African Union) instruments on counter-terrorism dealing with issues ranging from money laundering, drug trafficking, crime, to nuclear terrorism," it said.

Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe summoned US Ambassador Robin Sanders on Tuesday to protest the measures.

"I made it clear, through the US ambassador, to the US government that this is unacceptable to Nigeria," Maduekwe said.

"They didn't need to put us on that list and we want to be off that list," he said, adding that Nigeria had since independence in 1960 always maintained "very excellent relations" with the United States.

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