Thanks to social media, it is established fact that the minister is a supporter of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and a host of others. His islamic fundametalist credentials rear their ugly heads while preaching over 20 years ago and declared that he was always happy when infidels (none muslims) were massacred.
In another of his hate rhetorics he described al-Qaeda founder, Osama Bin Laden, a better Muslim than himself. A steady stream of new evidence of the views held by the minister in the past have surfaced online. For instance in 2010, Pantami presided over a meeting of one islamic body where it was agreed that Christians should be prohibited from building churches in city centres across northern Nigeria.
While delivering one of his hate messages he volunteered to lead a force of the Sharia police ( Hisbah) to Shendam in Plateau State, where there had been a deadly religious conflict, to fight in defence of muslims. In one audio clip that is trendiing online, the minister is heard lamenting about the Nigerian army’s war against Boko Haram, he appears to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the terrorists as “our muslim brothers” who did not deserve to be “killed like pigs.”
The evidence of the minister’s link to terrorist groups is overwhelming prompting outrage among the populace. Some have called for the immediate sack of Pantami, afraid that the office he presided over is too sensitive. Some have even gone to the extreme to suggest that the minister may have been sharing sensitive information about the nation and people with his “terrorists allies.
But shocking part of the saga is that the Buhari’s presidency has come out to defend the minister. Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement the minister was being “subject[ed] to a cancel campaign,” adding that “in the 2000s, the minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.”
The minister also attempted to renounce his past link to terrorist groups in a recent interview that some of the comments he made were based on his “understanding of religious issues at the time” and that he has changed several positions “based on new evidence and maturity.”
But that has not stopped calls for his sacking or resignation with many using the #PantamiMustGo hashtag on Twitter to express concerns over his access to sensitive data as the minister of communications. That a government which purports to be fighting terrorism is now defending a supporter of terrorists has incensed Nigerians the more.