Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami has renounced his radical comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Minister said he was young when he made the radical comments, adding he is mature and knows better.
He spoke while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday.
Daily Trust quoted him to have said: “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.
“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.”
The embattled Pantami has been facing the heat over his alleged link with terrorist groups with many Nigerians calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister.
The Nigerian Twitter community also said it was risky to trust the Minister with data of Nigerians, especially with the ongoing National Identification Number and Subscriber Identity Module integration exercise under his watch.