President Muhammadu Buhari’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, has come out publicly to recant his past utterances which glorified the massacre of non-muslims by terrorist groups, especially Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami, 48, said he was young when he made those radical comments, adding that he is now matured and now knows better.
The minister spoke on Saturday while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja.
“For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.
“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 international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later,” Daily Trust quoted Pantami as saying.
Fedredsnews yesterday reported the social media campaign that canvassed for the resignation of the minister over his alleged sympathy for terrorist groups. The argument is that a man of his radical religious inclination cannot be trusted to handle the sensitive National Identification Number (NIN) registration that has a throve of private data of Nigerians.
Pantami, an Islamic scholar, according to Peoples Gazette, 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 on a campaign to obliterate the West and conquer other parts of the world.