Though Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami denounces any allegiance to Boko Haram, he expressed support for the global extremist groups — the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Mr Pantami said in one of his vicious preachings in the 2000s. “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al Qā‘ida).”
Mr Pantami’s call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups portray him as a dyed-in-the-wool Islamic fundamentalist. Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Pantami as communications minister to control the country’s massive data and telephone infrastructure and other sensitive details of national intelligence.
When contacted on Wednesday by Peoples Gazette regarding his support for the terrorist groups, the minister did not comment.
On Monday, Mr Pantami threatened to sue some media platforms for reporting that he is on the U.S. terror watchlist for supporting Boko Haram.
The minister had claimed on Twitter that his lectures “against the doctrines and all other evil people (terrorists) have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria.”
But he failed to acknowledge that he is an avowed supporter of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as revealed in a 2019 academic document ‘Debating Boko Haram’ seen by The Gazette.
Mr Pantami invited Muslims, especially “Ahlus Sunna” (Salafis), to be sceptical of politicians and religious leaders calling for peace and understanding but retaliate with jihad.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria (hādhā jihād farḍ ‘ayn ‘ala kull muslim wa-khuṣūṣan fī Nījīriyā),” he added. Mr Pantami’s comments were translated by Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy. Nigerian scholar Musa Ibrahim of the University of Florida in the United States contributed to the paper that explored the onset of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Top journal publisher academia.edu published the research in March 2019, several months before Mr Buhari tapped Mr Pantami as a minister. Mr Pantami’s violent preachings, which he rendered in Hausa and Arabic throughout the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, had gone largely unreported in the Nigerian mainstream media.