- The minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has reacted to allegations that he is an extremist
- Pantami explained the circumstances behind some radical statements he uttered in the past
- The official narrated how he had deradicalized some who held extremist views
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The minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has backtracked on some of the extreme views he held about terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Some Nigerians have criticised the minister over the comments which were interpreted as endorsing the extremist sects.
But Pantami during a Ramadan lecture at the Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, April 17, said he made the controversial comments when he was young and inexperienced, Leadership reported.
He told his audience that some of the comments he made then were uttered as far back as when he was a teenager.
I'm not a terrorist; my driver, secretary are Christians - Pantami addresses fresh allegations
The minister stated that some of his past utterances do not represent who he is at the moment.
“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.”
According to The Punch, the minister claimed the current campaign against him is politically motivated, pointing out that he has been educating people about the dangers of terrorism for 15 years.
I converted over 1000 extremists with my Islamic teachings, Pantami tells Nigerians
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Pantami argued that:
“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.''
Meanwhile, the federal government has approved the activation of new SIM registration with a mandatory National Identity Number (NIN).
Nigerian Tribune reported that the approval is in line with the revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration.
Legit.ng gathered that the ministry of communications and digital economy said this in a statement signed by Femi Ademiluyi, a technical aide to minister Isa Pantami.
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