Nigerian Minister of Communication and and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, has announced that his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda were misconstrued. Pantami said he has no issues with Christians, adding that his personal driver, secretary and technical assistant are all Christians.
Pantami while renouncing his radical comments on terrorists said he did not have any issue with the Christ followers. According to him, “My personal driver is Mai Keffi, a practising Christian. I also have a Christian, Ms Nwosu, as my secretary and Dr Femi, also a Christian, as my technical adviser. “If I did not like Christians or I did not see them as my brothers and sisters, I would not have been working with them for so long. I employed more Christians than Muslims on my staff because I believe in merit and competence over ethnic or tribal sentiments.” he added. The minister stated that he have never condoned terrorism adding that he rejected any affiliation to terror groups.
He said, “I have long preached peaceful coexistence amongst people of every faith and ethnicity,” The minister have come under fire over his alleged link with terrorist groups just as many Nigerians have called on the President to sack the him. Nigerians on various social media community including Twitter and Facebook also stated that the minister could not 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 confirmed by his lawyer, Michael Numa, Pantami was seen engaging the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in a public debate. Reports 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 on a campaign to obliterate the West and conquer other parts of the world. The minister in his words said the statement were misconstrued, thereby rejecting affiliations with terror groups.