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Isa Pantami: the Nigerian minister haunted by extremist views

Isa Pantami

The Nigerian presidency says it’s “supporting” a struggling minister within the face of requires his resignation after the acute Islamist views he has held up to now have just lately come to gentle.

Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital financial system, and likewise a outstanding Muslim cleric, has voiced favorable views on teams such because the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

In a 2000s sermon he mentioned he thought of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden to be a greater Muslim than him, and in one other he mentioned he was comfortable when infidels had been slaughtered. .

Recordings of him expressing these views started circulating on social media final week, resulting in requires his resignation or dismissal by President Muhammadu Buhari.

However in his first response because the begin of the saga, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu mentioned the minister was “submissive[ed] to a “cancellation marketing campaign” “.

“Within the 2000s, the minister was a person in his twenties; subsequent 12 months he might be 50. Time has handed and folks and their opinions – usually rightly – are altering,” mentioned the Minister. communicated.

The minister additionally tried to again down on his previous views over the weekend, telling a neighborhood newspaper that a few of the feedback had been primarily based on his “understanding of non secular points on the time” and that he had modified a number of positions “on the brand new proof base and maturity ”. .

However that hasn’t stopped requires his dismissal or resignation, with many utilizing the #PantamiMustGo hashtag on Twitter to specific issues about his entry to delicate knowledge as communications minister.

He was additionally defended underneath the hashtag #PantamiMustStay because the query uncovered non secular and ethnic strains within the multi-ethnic nation.

What precisely did Mr. Pantami say?

There was a continuing stream of recent proof of the opinions he held up to now and the newest are paperwork that had been launched on-line on Wednesday.

The paperwork are allegedly taken from a 2010 assembly he chaired at Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a number one Islamic physique, the place it was agreed that Christians ought to be banned from constructing church buildings within the downtown areas in northern Nigeria, which has a majority inhabitants though hundreds of thousands of Christians additionally stay there.

Audio and video recordings have additionally emerged of Mr. Pantami’s fiery prayers and sermons at varied levels of his profession as an imam. In a sermon, he volunteered to steer a sharia police power, Hisbah, in Shendam in Plateau state, the place there had been a lethal non secular battle, to combat in protection of Muslims. .

Displaced man sits in his home in Jos, Plateau StateDisplaced man sits in his home in Jos, Plateau State

Greater than 300 individuals have died and hundreds have been displaced within the non secular violence that engulfed Jos, Plateau state in 2009

In a speech in 2006, Mr. Pantami publicly provided his condolences following the loss of life of Iraq’s al-Qaeda chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In an audio clip, the place he talks in regards to the Nigerian army’s warfare in opposition to Boko Haram, he seems to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the activists as “our Muslim brothers” who didn’t need to be “killed. like pigs ”.

In one other audio recording, he states that he’s at all times comfortable when infidels are slaughtered.

He didn’t deny the authenticity of those texts, audio and video clips.

What did the federal government say?

Nigerians had been awaiting a response from the federal government and it got here on Thursday by way of a presidential spokesman.

Garba Shehu, who speaks on behalf of President Buhari, mentioned the administration “stood behind Minister Pantami”.

“The minister rightly apologized for what he mentioned within the early 2000s. The opinions had been then completely unacceptable, and can be simply as unacceptable in the present day if he repeated them,” he mentioned. He mentioned in a press release that he additionally shared on his Twitter account:

However critics have identified that the minister was already in his 30s when most of his controversial statements had been made, and so he was absolutely conscious of the ramifications.

The opposition Folks’s Democratic Occasion (PDP) tried to debate Mr Pantami’s views within the Home of Representatives on Wednesday, however was blocked by the ruling get together.

Why are these views simply coming to gentle?

It began as a rumor final week when a neighborhood newspaper reported that Mr. Pantami had been positioned on a US watch record for his hyperlinks to terrorism.

There was no affirmation from the USA and Mr. Pantami threatened to sue the newspaper and others who disseminated the knowledge, which led to a retraction and an apology.

However since then, a sequence of audio and video clips of Mr. Pantami making inflammatory feedback have been posted on social media.

The Nigerian on-line newspaper has additionally printed quite a few reviews. Peoples Gazette.

An outdated Wikileaks A doc citing a US diplomatic cable stating that Mr. Pantami was expelled from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa College in Bauchi State and a mosque in Gombe for preaching inflammatory rhetoric was additionally rebroadcast.

People gathered at a registration point for Nigeria's national identification numberPeople gathered at a registration point for Nigeria's national identification number

The April deadline for Nigerians to register for the nationwide ID quantity has been moved to Might

There have been additionally social media posts about his time at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa College the place Mr. Pantami, as a clerk at a neighborhood mosque, was accused of instigating the ugly homicide of a Christian pupil chief who preached on campus.

Mr. Patami denied the fees and likewise mentioned he was by no means expelled from school.

He instructed the native newspaper, Premium Occasions, that the individuals who opposed the introduction of a compulsory nationwide ID quantity, which might be wanted to acquire a cellphone quantity, had been those attacking him.

Who’s Isa Pantami?

  • Aged 48, he’s at the moment Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economic system

  • Former head of the Nationwide Data Know-how Improvement Company (NITDA)

  • From Gombe State, northeastern Nigeria, the place he started his research at Quranic colleges in Tsangaya, generally generally known as almajiri

  • Earned a PhD from Robert Gordon College, Scotland, however was additionally educated in Saudi Arabia

  • He’s the chief imam of the favored Al Mannar Mosque in Abuja the place he nonetheless leads the annual teachings in the course of the quick of Ramadan.

Why are some Nigerians so anxious about Pantami?

As head of the Ministry of Communication, he oversees the companies liable for databases of Nigerians and expatriates within the nation.

Some individuals have expressed concern {that a} minister with a previous sympathy for militant Islamist teams would have entry to such crucial knowledge.

Mr. Pantami additionally oversees the online infrastructure of most authorities departments and companies, armed forces, intelligence companies and the satellite tv for pc infrastructure of Nigeria which offers communications and navigation help for the Military of the USA. ‘air.

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