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Sunday, April 2, 2023

PDP Demand Pantami’s Sack Over Past Statements on Terror Groups

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the dismissal of Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over statements he made in the past in support of Islamic extremist groups.

Audio recordings of Mr Pantami’s past teachings where he declared support for Al-Qaeda and Taliban resurfaced last week, generating debates on social media platforms with many Nigerians calling for his removal and others defending him.

Mr Pantami, an Islamic cleric, denied any links with the groups. He, however, admitted making the controversial statements supporting the groups but said on Saturday that his views on such extremist groups have changed.

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity,” Daily Trust newspaper quoted him as saying during an Islamic lecture at an Abuja mosque.

Many Nigerians have, however, called on Mr Pantami to resign or be sacked as minister after more Nigerians became aware of his past statements.

On Sunday, Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, joined the call for the minister’s resignation.

“Our party’s position is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles,” the PDP said in the statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.

The party also charged the State Security Service (SSS) to probe Mr Pantami for allegedly compromising “the NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.”

Mr Pantami had in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, alleged that the calls for his removal were being sponsored by those opposed to the government’s policy of mandatory registration of the National Identity Number (NIN) and linking it to all SIM cards. The policy was proposed and is being driven by Mr Malami’s ministry.

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