Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has come under fire on social media platform, Twitter, over his alleged link with terrori
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has come under fire on social media platform, Twitter, over his alleged link with terrorist groups, Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Nigerians also said the minister cannot be trusted with the data of Nigerians, especially with the ongoing National Identification Number and Subscriber Identity Module integration exercise under his watch.
In a viral video recorded many years ago which was later confirmed by his lawyer, Michael Numa, the minister was seen engaging the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in a public debate.
Pantami, an Islamic scholar, according to Peoples Gazette, also once declared that he was always happy when infidels were massacred. Pantami’s comments were contained in three audio recordings of his teachings in the 2000s, when he took extreme positions in support of the brutal exploits of Al Qaeda and Taliban elements who were on a campaign to obliterate the West and conquer other parts of the world.
Pantami has long been famous across northern parts of Nigeria as an Islamic cleric who used most of his preachings to rail against the government’s high-handedness o terrorists and promised never to go into public service. The sermon was delivered in the mid-2000s, years before Buhari appointed him in 2016 as the head of NITDA and later in 2019 as a cabinet minister in charge of communications.
“See what our fellow Muslim brothers’ blood has turned to? Even pig blood has more value than that of a fellow Muslim brother,” Pantami lamented in a sermon issued a few years ago when former President Goodluck Jonathan ramped up military operations against the rampaging terror sect.
“We are praying to God to answer all our prayers. It’s our right and obligation before all Muslim leaders, politicians, government appointees, academics. All of us should not fold their arms and watch helplessly how they shed our Muslim brothers’ blood and cheat them in vain,” Pantami said.
Pantami said Boko Haram elements should have been treated with dignity as against the deadly military campaign, saying extermination of insurgents amounted to extrajudicial killing.
“Even if the Boko Haram fighters commit a crime, but can we justify the way and manner they are being killed?” Just look at how they are killing people as if they are shooting pigs even though they commit a crime, why the extrajudicial killing? Take them before the law for a fair trial,” Pantami said.
The minister also said the previous administration should have pampered Boko Haram insurgents in the same manner as the Niger-Delta militants. Unlike Boko Haram that has been on senseless bloodshed against Nigerians of every faith and creed, the militants were fighting for a better share of oil wealth explored and extracted from their parts of the country.
But Pantami disregarded the context of both groups and instead took a parallel position on how the government should respond to them.
“The Niger Delta people did something similar to this. They massacre people, steal weapons, killed expatriates and kidnap some of them. Yet, you still accept them back, open a ministry for them, gave them a minister and put them on a monthly salary pay without work.
“The militants did more harm compared to what Boko Haram boys did. But why will they do something like this? Why selective justice?” the minister asked.
The audio was part of a series of controversial sermons which Pantami delivered at several worship centres and learning institutions across the northern parts of the country between the mid and late 2000s, most of which had already been transcribed and by an academic journal published online since March 2019.
Calls have now intensified for Pantami to either publicly renounce his statements or step down from office, with some activists arguing that his position as a federal minister in charge of citizens’ data and the country’s telecoms infrastructure had become untenable.