Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has said no amount of intimidation will stop him or the Federal Government from implementing the linkage verification of Nigerians’ National Identification Number (NIN) to their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
Pantami said this on Twitter on Monday in reaction to a report purportedly linking him to the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
The Daily Independent published a report claiming that the minister, a known Islamic preacher before his appointment, is said to be a very close confidant of the late Mohammed Yusuf, the killed leader of Boko Haram with whom he allegedly shared jihadist doctrines.
The newspaper also reported that Pantami has been placed on watch list of the America’s Intelligence Service.
Twitter was buzzing as there were varied reactions to the report, coupled with the minister’s name being the number one trending topic on the social media platform on Monday for over four hours.
Reacting, Pantami explained that he has been preaching against Islamic ideologies he described as criminal since 2015, noting that he risked his life in the process as he was a target for the terrorist groups.
He insinuated that the report may not be unconnected to the ongoing NIN-SIM verification programme by the Federal Government, claiming that “criminals are feeling the heat”.
He insisted that there is no going back on the NIN-SIM verification programme by the current administration, noting that it is a key policy of security for the country.
“On the issue of NIN-SIM Verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as GOVERNMENT based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2)b is SECURITY, not just economy. For sure, no going back at all. Let’s the sponsors continue.
“FYI all, by the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop @IsaPantami from implementing d good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on security.”
Pantami urged all Nigerians who are yet to do their verification to do so or risk facing the wrath of the government.
“FINALLY: If you are yet to verify your SIM using NIN, do it very soon, b4 our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat.”
He also noted that major publishers who published the story will meet his lawyers in the court over what he termed as defamation of character.