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Invite Pantami for questioning now, PDP charges DSS

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Pantami, COVID-19, Data
Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami

…Asks Buhari to sack Minister

…I don’t hold extremist views, nor support Boko Haram — Minister

By Dirisu Yakubu

THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged the Department of State Security,   DSS, to immediately invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for questioning over alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The party also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.

The party’s position was contained in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan on Sunday.

“Our party’s position is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication Minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.

“The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the National Identification Number, NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.

“The party tasks the DSS to investigate the allegation, which has created apprehension, particularly given the rise in banditry and other terrorists activities in our country.

“The PDP urges Nigerians to remain at alert and very sensitive to their environment, while not hesitating in providing useful information to our security agencies in the interest of our nation,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Minister (Pantami), said weekend he has never held extremist views nor maintained rigid stances on issues.

He also said no Islamic preacher in the past and in recent times has criticized and condemned the activities of Boko Haram terrorists than he did.

Pantami, made this known at An-Nur Mosque, during a Ramadan lecture while responding to a question over claims that the United States government allegedly placed him on watchlist for having reported links with Boko Haram leaders.

He noted that as a Muslim, he had never supported the Boko Haram sect, neither had 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 to 2005 and 2006, know me better. They know what I often preached about,” he said.

The minister said within 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 added: “Besides these evangelism missions I embarked on to speak against religious fundamentalism, I also published pamphlets on the nefarious activities of the terrorists.’’

Pantami said though some of the media attacks on him were motivated by political reasons, he would not be perturbed, adding that he had never been fixated on issues, but changes his stance immediately he discovered that his viewpoints and verdicts on such issues were wrong.

He pointed out that though he started preaching as early as age 13, his viewpoints had consistently changed as a result of acquiring more knowledge, exposure, travelling and maturity as he advanced in age.

READ ALSO: Boss Mustapha chairs committee on digital identity for development

The minister said he does not tolerate injustice, adding that every Nigerian had the right to practise the religion he liked, in line with the constitution’s provision for freedom of religion.

He said: “I once saved two Corp members who were about to be lynched in Bauchi State during a fight between Christians and Muslims. I personally took them to the mosque to save their lives. So, anybody who will protect Christians will you still call him a fanatic?”

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged the Department of State Security, DSS, to immediately invite Pantami for questioning over alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The party also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to the sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.

The party’s position was contained in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday.

“Our party’s position is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the Communication Minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals, including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.

“The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the National Identification Number, NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.

“The party tasks the DSS to investigate the allegation, which has created apprehension, particularly given the rise in banditry and other terrorists activities in our country,” the statement read.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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