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Bomb plot suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, appeared in a Detroit federal court on Friday. ((U.S. Marshal's Service/Associated Press))

A not guilty plea has been entered on behalf of a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was arraigned at a federal courthouse in Detroit Friday on six charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder.

The proceedings lasted just over three minutes, with Abdulmutallab's lawyer saying his client would stand mute to the charges.

U.S. Magistrate Mark Randon entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Abdulmutallab, who appeared in the courtroom wearing a white T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes, will remain in custody.

Electronic devices, including computers and cellphones, were not allowed in the courthouse over fears they could be used to conceal explosives or detonate a bomb, the Detroit Free Press reported.

There had been reports that members of Abdulmutallab's family, including the father who had alerted authorities in November expressing concerns about his son's radical views, would be present at his arraignment, but they were not.

His defence is being handled by Detroit federal public defenders, including the head of the office, Miriam Siefer, a highly regarded lawyer.

Al-Qaeda link reported

But Abdulmutallab's lawyers didn't get the case until he was charged the day after the failed attack. By then he had reportedly told investigators about training with al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

Abdulmutallab, who was travelling to Detroit from Amsterdam on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, is accused of trying to ignite an explosive device hidden in his underwear. The FBI says Abdulmutallab tried to detonate it with a syringe of chemicals.

Fellow passengers pounced on him before he could set off the bomb.

His appearance comes a day after President Barack Obama reviewed reports on how Abdulmutallab was able to board a plane despite being initially flagged to receive extra security screening. Obama said he is ordering changes to how information on potential threats is handled.

Obama had earlier said the failure was not in gathering intelligence but in "connecting the dots."

With files from The Associated Press