Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is currently a subject of intense agitation over his alleged link with dreaded terrorist groups like Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
The Nigerian Twitter community 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.
Peoples Gazette said 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.
Peoples Gazette also said Pantami did not return a request seeking comments from about whether or not he has eschewed his violent Salafist views.
Boko Haram terrorists are our Muslim brothers, shouldn’t be killed like pigs: Minister Pantami
The hashtag #PantamiResign has since been trending online having over 18,000 retweets as of the time of filing this report.
A tweep, @YemieFASH wrote, “A terrorist apologist is not worthy of being a government official. #PantamiResign”
“This Pantami issue is far more serious than we treat it to be. I had this nightmare last night where Boko Haram had the data and location details of every single Nigerian, including the president. Pantami has to resign and answer the law. We’re in danger!! #PantamiResign,”@MOMPERE55 stated.
@mrflairr also tweeted, “Whether Nigeria is a serious country or not, we are calling for the resignation of Pantami immediately. Please all of us need to make this trend and put pressure on the government to achieve this. #PantamiResign”
“Pantami having access to NIN of all Nigerian citizens is the same thing as Osama Bin Ladin having access to our homes especially the kitchen…Pantami resignation is not an attack to the Arewa people it’s a preventive measure to kill Osama Bin Ladin again. #PantamiResign,” wrote @Ugonna37489321.
Another tweep, @DrOlufunmilayo, however, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who returned to the country on Thursday from London, might not be aware of the calls for the resignation of the minister.
“The funny thing about this whole #PantamiResign situation is that Buhari may not even be aware at all,” the user tweeted.
Some Nigerians under a group, Concerned Nigerians, have also written to the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, asking that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, be placed on the terrorists’ watchlist due to his extremist religious views.
The group stated on Friday that the US Secretary of State should order an investigation into the allegations and place him on the terrorist watchlist permanently.
The convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju, who signed the petition, stated that those in power who “express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally.”
The petition, dated April 11, and written through the Ambassador, US Embassy in Nigeria, is titled, “Terrorist Watchlist – Isa Pantami.”
It partly reads, “We write to intimate you of remarks attributed to Sheikh Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Communications Minister in several media blogs in the country wherein he was quoted as saying he was always happy whenever unbelievers are killed by terrorist groups. “It is also further alleged that he had in the past openly supported and endorsed global terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Talibans.
“Pantami is said to have praised Osama Bin Laden describing him as a hero and a better Muslim than himself. He has not renounced these views in the face of new revelations by the media. His views are extremist views and a threat to a multi religious nation like Nigeria.
“He is a senior member of President Buhari’s regime and we are of the view that a supporter of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden should not hold a sensitive position and be in charge of the database of Nigerians. We are confident that Mr. Pantami will not resign or be sacked despite the public outcry because President Buhari is drawn to men like him.
“We implore you to investigate these allegations and if true, place him on your terrorist watchlist permanently. Those who express extremist views remain a threat to world peace as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally. This remains unacceptable.
“Our reply to those who say these men may have had a change of heart is that terrorists don’t repent, they are only looking for an opportunity to get close to power so they can strike harder
Source: Politics Today