Nigerians have asked Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, to resign after admitting that he once held radical views on the operations of Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami has been in the spotlight since the Daily Independent published a report claiming that the minister, a known Islamic preacher before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, is said to be a very close confidant of the late Mohammed Yusuf, founder of Boko Haram, with whom he allegedly shared jihadist doctrines.
The newspaper, in its now-retracted report, also reported that Pantami has been placed on the watch list of America’s Intelligence Service.
The minister had initially denied the allegation that he had radical views about operations of terrorist organisations.
However, while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, Pantami said maturity has changed his position about terrorism.
“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.
“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later,” Daily Trust quoted Pantami as saying.
Following his comments, Nigerians on Twitter have called for his resignation with #PantamiResignNow.
Some said his claim that he has changed his orientation is an attempt to deceive.
See some of the reactions from Nigerians on Twitter calling for Pantami’s resignation.