Nigerians are mounting pressure on Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami to resign over some controversial comments he made in the past in support of global terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Recall Pantami renounced his past controversial comments on terrorist groups, including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami reportedly made the incendiary comments while answering questions on the late Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who masterminded the destruction of the World Trade Centre.
At least 3000 people died when planes crashed into the twin towers of WTC on September 11, 2001.
He had initially denied holding any extremists views and chalked down the reports to defamation of character by people miffed by his policies as the minister of communication and digital economy.
But in what appears to be a backtrack, the Minister said he was young when he made the radical comments, adding that he is now mature and knows better.
“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of the international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later,” Patanmi said.
But his renunciation of the radical views didn’t convince Nigerians who increased the demand for his resignation over the weekend.
With the trending hashtag — #PantamiResignNow, many Nigerians stated he (Pantami) 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.
Also, some other critics said the views he expressed as a university student cannot be blamed on age.
Activist Lawyer, Festus Ogun said: “Pantami has now renounced his extremist views? Logically, that is an admission of guilt — that he’s an extremist.
“The honourable thing to do now is for him to resign. Failure, we’ll force him out of office by mass action. It is a patriotic thing to do. #PantamiResignNow.”
Social commentator, Dr. Ayo Sogunro said: “I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. – Isa Pantami” — This is not about age. I was once a teenager too – and I never supported killing people of different religions or beliefs. #PantamiResignNow”
Onyedikachukwu said: “Kemi Adeosun resigned over forgery. Stella Oduah resigned over corruption allegations.
“Everyone condemned them and none asked for forgiveness to continue as a Minister. Pantami ‘s case won’t be different.”
Abdul-Aziz Abubakar tweeted: “My only problem with Pantami is how he deceived us by showing his fake concern over Boko Haram killings during Good-Luck Jonathan’s tenure, but today B/Haram, Banditry and kidnapping is a normal thing in Arewa and Pantami is no longer crying. #PantamiResignNow.”
Sherrif Quadri said: “If indeed @DrIsaPantami is a man of God and a principled one at that, the right thing to do at this point is to resign.
“It is not a sign of weakness nor it is you conceding out of guilt. It is just the honorable thing to do. #PantamiResignNow.”
Somto Onuchukwu wrote: “You had a jihadist slogan that says you plan to infiltrate the government and “dismantle the entire system”, how are we sure this is not a fake-renounce, to stay on and complete dismantling our security architecture? @DrIsaPantami #PantamiResignNow.”
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