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Reactions continue to trail Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami’s comment Saturday renouncing the comments he made on Al Qaeda and Taliban.
The minister has been under fire over the comments which were interpreted as endorsing the extremist sects with a trending hashtag advocating for his immediate resignation .
Mr Ayo Sogunro, a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Human Rights, urged the embattled Minister to step aside.
He wrote on twitter, “Now that Isa Pantami has renounced his extremist ideology, he should do the right thing and resign from office”.
Sogunro added, “If he truly wants to make up for his past, he should continue the work of engaging and de-radicalising young jihadis, not handle national affairs”, adding the hashtag “#PantamiResignNow”.
Pantami, while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, 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.
The minister further stated, “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.”
But Nigerian on social media are demanding the minister to resign. See some of the reactions shortly after his comment recanting statement backing international terrorts groups like Al-qaeda and the Taliban.
During a lecture in 2004, Pantami delivered an emotional speech in the aftermath of the Yelwa Shendam crisis. He called for retaliation with jihad as “an obligation for every believer, especially in Nigeria.”
At the end of the 20-minute long speech, he prayed, in tears, for the success of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. He offered himself to be a commander in responding to Muslims’ Christian attack.
Pantami said Jihad is “fardh ayn” (individual obligation) and called Muslims to be sceptical of politicians and religious leaders who would be calling for peace.