Isa Pantami has been on the news lately. This article is a roundup of everything we currently know about this event.
How it started.
On April 11, 2021, Isa Pantami became a subject of public interest when a couple of publications reported that he was on the US terror watch list. A video circulating on social media showed the minister in an exchange with Mohammed Yusuf, the man who founded Boko Haram. The video implied that Pantami had a rather amicable relationship with the terrorists.
As it turned out, Pantami was indeed criticising the extremist views of the terror group on western education.
Various sources debunked reports that Isa Pantami was on a terror watch list, claiming he has no direct ties to the Boko Haram terrorists. One of the publications that had earlier reported the news published a retraction and deleted the story from their website and social media accounts.
The minister while responding to these claims denied a connection with the terrorists and threatened to press charges.
But that wasn’t the end of it. The events of the day led to a surge of interest in the minister and more information about his past started coming to light.
In a 2006 lecture delivered in Bauchi state, Isa Pantami declared his admiration for terror groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. On more than one occasion, he made incendiary remarks targeted at non-muslims.
After the new development and the reemergence of the damning videos, the minister came out to renounce his views. According to him, he was a young cleric when he made those statements and had “changed his position” on them.
How it’s going
Nigerians have been wondering how someone with such a problematic past became the head of one of the most sensitive ministries in the country. How did he scale through the supposedly iron-clad background check by Nigerian Intelligence, a prerequisite to his appointment?
It should be noted that up until the time of writing this, the Federal Government hasn’t made their position known on the issue. Isa Pantami is still the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.
Things became even more interesting when new troubling documents implicating the minister in more dodgy events surfaced on April 21, 2021. The document contained minutes of a meeting chaired by Isa Pantami in 2010.
The participants of the meeting decried the rise and spread of Christianity in the North and talked about strategies to stop this growth. A section of the document was dedicated to ridding Kaduna state of non-muslims and plotting the “elimination” of the Governor of the state at the time, Patrick Yakowa.
Governor Yakowa was killed in a helicopter crash two years later. There is so far no evidence linking this meeting to the fatal accident.
Nigerians are still asking one question — why is Isa Pantami still a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? There is no answer yet, but we hope there will be one soon.