The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, insists he has never held extremist views nor maintained rigid stances on issues.
He also said no Islamic preacher both in the past and in recent times has criticized and condemned the activities of Boko Haram terrorists more than he did.
Pantami spoke at An-Nur Mosque during a Ramadan Lecture while responding to reports about his alleged ties with Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISWAP and other terrorist groups.
Pantami noted that as a Muslim, he has never supported the Boko Haram sect, neither has he promoted terrorism.
“On the claim that I am a Boko Haram sympathizer, I want to say that people who have been following my religious evangelism, as a scholar, dating back from 2005 and 2006, know me better. They know what I often preached about.”
Pantami recalled in the last two decades, he was invited and travelled to Niger Republic, Katsina, Borno, and Gombe, among other northern states, where he ‘vehemently’ condemned Boko Haram’s ideology.
He said he had also published pamphlets on the nefarious activities of the terrorists’ sect.
Pantami claimed the media attacks on him were motivated by political and economic reasons but would not be perturbed.
The Minister further stressed that though he started preaching as early as when he was 13 years old, his viewpoints changed as a result of acquiring more knowledge, exposure, travelling and maturity, as he advanced in age.
“I have changed my stance on some issues based on additional facts even after expressing Fatwa, a nonbinding religious opinion in response to a question posed to me,”
Pantami disclosed that as a scholar he was able to preach to many fanatical youths who shunned terrorism and went to acquire quality education, becoming engineers and other professionals.
He said he does not tolerate injustice, adding that every Nigerian has the right to practice the religion he likes, in line with the constitution’s provision for freedom of religion.