Pantami avoids questions from newsmen
Mixed reactions trail alleged link with Al-Qaeda, others
Apparently anticipating questions concerning reports on his alleged links to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, yesterday, avoided fielding questions from journalists covering the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
Reporters, after a press conference heralding the 20th anniversary of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which the minister was part of, had positioned themselves by the exit of the auditorium to engage the minister on silent issues, but he told the journalists that the event was organised by NITDA; hence all questions should be directed to the Director General of the agency.
One of the issues the minister was expected to shed light on was that, which had been trending since last week.
MEANWHILE, mixed reactions have trailed the touchy issue.
While a group known as Concerned Nigerians wrote to the Secretary of State, United States Department of State and the Department of State Service (DSS) to invite Pantami for questioning, to prosecute him for supporting terrorism, if found culpable, Joint Council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs in Nigeria alleged that he was being persecuted for initiating reforms in the telecommunications sector.
In a letter signed by its convener, Deji Adeyanju, Concerned Nigerians stated: “We implore the U.S. and the DSS to investigate the allegations against the minister and, if true, place him on terrorist watch list permanently.
“Those who express extremist views remain a threat to world peace, as they support mass murder of both Christians and Muslims globally. We write to intimate you of remarks attributed to Pantami in several media blogs that he was always happy whenever terrorist groups kill unbelievers.”
It also alleged that Pantami had, in the past, openly supported global terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He allegedly praised Osama bin Laden, describing him as a hero and a better Muslim than himself.
But the followers and supporters of Pantami declared Adeyanju an ‘Enemy of Islam’, an action capable of endangering his life, spokesperson of the group, Theophilus Agada, said yesterday in Abuja.
HOWEVER, the leader of Joint Council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs in Nigeria, Bishop John Okafor, which probed into the issue, claimed that allegations against Pantami were untrue and unjust to his person and character.
The group frowned on the development, adding that it was a fundamental plot to dampen the image of the country before the international community.
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