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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

I had religious issues before, I now know better – Pantami renounces past comments on Al Qaeda, Boko Haram

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, has renounced his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The minister said he was young when he made the radical comments, adding that he is now mature and now knows better.

He spoke while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday.

“For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.

“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.

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“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.

Minister Pantami had come under attack by Nigerians on twitter over his alleged link with terrorist groups, with many Nigerians calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister.

The hashtag #PantamiResign trended for several days before some Pro-Pantami group of Nigerians initiated another hashtag #PantamiWillStay to support the Minister’s renouncement.

In a viral video recorded many years ago which was later confirmed by his lawyer, Michael Numa, the minister was seen engaging the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in a public debate.

Pantami, an Islamic scholar, however declared that his past comments has been corrected and he has preached againts Boko Haram for over 15 years.

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