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Linking Pantami, JNI with Yakowa’s death unhealthy for Nation’s peace, Sultan warns

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Isa Ali Pantami


• Reps Minority Caucus Insists On Pantami’s Resignation
• PDP Condemns Presidency For Supporting Embattled Minister

Leader of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam ((JNI) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Sa’ad, has said that the attempt by unpatriotic Nigerians to link the death of former Governor of Kaduna State, the late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Sheikh Isa Pantami and the Islamic body was not healthy for the unity and peace of the country.

This is as the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has insisted on Pantami’s resignation over his alleged links with global terror groups.

The leading opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, on its part, described the support for the embattled minister by the Presidency as a confirmation of the sympathy the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has for terrorism.

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The Sultan, in a statement yesterday, said the JNI was taken aback by the desperation of some disgruntled elements to smear the image of the minister and the organisation as being part of an alleged plot that resulted in the assassination of Yakowa.

Vexed by the allegation, the Sultan asked: “How could Sheikh Pantami chair a JNI meeting while he was not one of its leaders either at the national or state levels? What could have necessitated the combination of Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Kaduna states from different geo-political zones in the meeting?

“If Yakowa was vehemently hated by the Muslims and were desperately trying to ‘get rid’ of him, how did he win the 2011 elections in a Muslim dominated state of Kaduna where a Muslim-Muslim ticket recently sailed through? Who voted him in?”

The Sultan noted that the, “the so-called pieces of minutes shared by the media to further confuse and manipulate an average Nigerian’s mind into believing this orchestrated lie has further confirmed the desperation of the perpetrators.”

He added: “It is very perplexing and heart-rending that minutes of an assassination plot could be written and kept. How disheartening and disgusting! We thought the plot against Sheikh Pantami is politically motivated, but surprisingly it is assuming to be a more sinister dimension born out of a well thought-out scheme designed to smear and tarnish the image and the good name of the JNI and other Muslim organisations.”

“Considering the various concerns raised by many citizens, vis-a-vis the attendant consequence of the scandalous allegation, we wish to place on record and for posterity that such never occurred and the JNI does not operate in such a dubious manner.

“We are at loss as to why this allegation is coming up just now, many years after the demise of Mr. Yakowa. This should be seriously investigated. The JNI therefore condemn unreservedly this ill-conceived, unprofessionally prepared and cunning but futile attempt to drag its hard earned reputation in the mud.”

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The Sultan called on the security agencies to immediately swing into action and fish out the perpetrators of “this heinous act and subject them to the wrath of the law before their foot soldiers disturb the modicum of tranquility in the country.”

“This should be treated with utmost urgency and the JNI is ready to fully cooperate with the security agencies in this regard. If these agents of darkness had travelled down the history lane, they would have known that they would woefully fail in their every attempt to project Islam and Muslims in bad light. This is a proven fact. Powers more ferocious, more determined, more sophisticated and more devilish than them have tried several times and failed.

“What makes them think that they can succeed now? It is obvious that they have utterly crashed even before they took off! We appreciate the many calls put through to the JNI on the matter hence we implore all Muslims to continue to maximise the blessings of this Ramadan to intensify prayers for Allah to bless Nigeria and peace loving Nigerians,” he added.

In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives said it was backing the Minority Leader of the House, Ndidu Elumelu, who had called for Pantami’s resignation over his alleged ties with terrorists.

“The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, should resign or be removed by President Muhammadu Buhari, as his continued stay in office poses great threat to our national security,” the statement said.

Spokesperson of the caucus, Francis Agbo, who signed the statement, noted that insecurity was blind to creed and party colourations, saying the caucus would resist any attempt by anyone to politicise a clear existential threat to the nation’s security.

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The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also noted that, “if indeed, the Buhari Presidency has not found itself entangled, the least it ought to have done in the face of allegations against Pantami was to reassure Nigerians by first relieving Isa Pantami of his office and handing him over to the appropriate agency for deradicalisation.”

Ologbondiyan said: “The statement of the Presidency in which it showed a desperation to provide official cover to a terrorism apologist further confirms public and international apprehensions that the Buhari administration and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are patronising acts of terrorism in our country.

“Nigerians were traumatised that the Presidency could mount a hopeless defence and justification for the actions of the exposed Pantami, who had already confessed to supporting terrorist groups like al-Qaida and Taliban.

“This anti-people stance has heightened public anxiety that the Buhari Presidency is a haven for traitors who are providing support to acts of terrorist activities in our nation.

“Our party holds that this has further exposed why the Buhari Presidency has failed to decisively confront terrorism as well as why terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and insurgents are emboldened to ravage our nation and massacre our compatriots.”

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