Nigerians yesterday sent a deluge of requests to the Embassy of the United States of America in Abuja, trying to get more information and clarification on the alleged links of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ibrahim Isa Pantami, to Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations around the world.
There was outrage over the alleged links of the minister to the terrorists when it was reported on Sunday that he was on the watch list of America’s Intelligence Service. Pantami quickly denied the allegation and threatened to initiate legal action against those who reported the alleged links.
At the time of writing this report yesterday, the US Embassy in it reaction to the alleged report said, “Thank you for your inquiry, however, we defer all press inquiries on Minister Pantami to the FBI at [email protected]”
According to the unconfirmed report indicting the minister, he was said to be a former student of Salafist ideologies, trained in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with other top Islamic jihadists.
The report noted that before his appointment as a minister, Pantami was a known Islamic preacher and held what was termed ‘dangerous views’ against the American government over its stance on Al-Qaeda.
The minister was said to have been “a very close confidant of the slain Mohammed Yusuf, the founder and spiritual leader of Boko Haram with whom he allegedly shared jihadist doctrines.
“According to Western Intelligence, the minister had ties with Abu Quatada al Falasimi and other Al-Qaeda leaders that he revered and spoke glowingly of in several of his videos on YouTube.
“According to Middle Eastern Intelligence, corroborated by its Western counterparts, photographs of Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami and his jihadist allies are trending,” the report added.
Not a few Nigerians have expressed outrage at the report and also warned about the consequences of allowing Pantami to handle sensitive issues such as the National Identification Number (NIN), which they feared he might use to register those who are not Nigerians especially terrorists.