United States President George Bush has used his first journey to Africa to seek support for the “war on terrorism” but in northern Nigeria Osama bin Laden still enjoys public affection. Bush might be warmly welcomed to Abuja on Friday by Nigeria’s pro-Western President Olusegun Obasanjo but if his tight schedule had allowed him to visit the dusty streets of Kano he would have found widespread devotion to his most feared enemy. Bin Laden’s familiar smile beams from posters and T-shirts at the bus stops and markets of this sprawling, mainly Muslim city and many Muslims in Kano party to celebrate the September 11 atrocities. Almost two years later, the man who the US accuses of ordering the September 11 attacks is still a hero to many of the people here. Rabi’u Musa, 30, is one of many bus drivers who have a big portrait of the fugitive on his bus’s window: “I’m proud of Osama,” he said while waiting for passengers. “He is a hero who has proved that America was not the invincible superpower it made the world believe it was.” There has never been a terrorist attack against US interests in Nigeria. There are large Nigerian communities in the US and strong cultural links between the two very different countries. Full Story
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