Alleged US Terror Watchlist: Pantami Reacts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerians woke up to reports on social media alleging that the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Pantami, has been put on the United States terror watchlist.
According to the reports, the Minister got into trouble with the world power because of his alleged support for known Al-Qaeda members as well as the late Mohammad Yusuf, who is believed to be the founding leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Mr Pantami, before he was appointed as Minister by President Muhammadu Buhari, was a well-known Islamic cleric, who worked in Saudi Arabia at the Islamic University of Madinah as Head of Technical Writing.
He studied Computer Science at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, graduating in 2003 and then obtained an MSc in 2008 before securing a PhD from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.
He is also trained on Digital transformation at Harvard University, USA, then Management Strategy in both, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Institute of Management Development in Loussaune, Switzerland. He was also in Cambridge University for Management Programme, among others.
Reacting to the reports, after one of the publishers retracted the story, the Minister said his lawyers would take legal action on those who published the defaming article.
“Your retraction through your independent investigation has been noted. However, investigative journalism requires the investigation before publishing, not after.
“Further, major publishers will meet my lawyers in the court on this defamation of character.
“My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria. If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.
“On the issue of NIN-SIM verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as a government based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2) is security, not just economy. For sure, [there is] no going back at all. Let the sponsors continue.
“FYI (for your information) all, by the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop @IsaPantami from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari on security.
“Finally, if you are yet to verify your SIM using NIN, do it very soon, before our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat,” Mr Pantami said.