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No going back on NIN, SIM verification, says Pantami

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[FILES] Pantami

Minister denies link with the terror group

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, yesterday, said Federal Government would not go back on the verification of National Identity Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) aimed at curbing the rising insecurity level in the country.

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Pantami, while reacting to a report linking him to a particular terror group, tweeted via his official Twitter handle @DrIsaPantami: “On the issue of NIN-SIM verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as a government based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2)b is security, not just economy. For sure, no going back at all.”

A report, which went viral, yesterday, alleged that the United States placed Pantami on a “terror watch list” for alleged ties with the late Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf.

The minister, however, said that his lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years. “The lectures include debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria. If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.”

He said that by the grace of his creator, no amount of intimation would stop him from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari on security.

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“Finally, if you are yet to verify your SIM, using NIN, do it very soon, before our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat.”

Meanwhile, spokesman to the minister, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman, has faulted report in the media (The Guardian not inclusive) alleging that Pantami is on the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Terror Watch List, describing it as propaganda that could only be the last resort of disgruntled enemies of progress.

In an article made available to The Guardian, yesterday, Suleiman observed that one of Pantami’s earliest policies on the registration of SIM cards was aimed at fighting terrorism as it hindered unregulated sale and registration of SIMs. “The current NIN/SIM linkage also seeks to further give impetus to that policy.”

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According to Suleiman, it is heartbreaking that while the rest of Africa is scrambling to partner with Pantami, albeit the Digital Economy sector which he has nurtured to global relevance, Nigerians who should take ownership of this generational enigma are at the forefront of a plot to pull him down.

“Just last month, by consensus, Pantami emerged the chairman of West Africa Telecoms Regulatory Assembly, a regional body made up of the highest decision-makers in the industry. That is Africa recognising integrity and patriotism and the way to a future of global reckoning.”

“I am aware that it is not easy to accept the fact that a young man can have intellect, integrity, patriotism, and courage to bring about the much-needed change where most have failed,” she said.

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