SHOCKING!! Whenever Unbelievers Are Being Killed, We Are Always Happy — President Buhari’s Minister
President Muhammadu Buhari’s communications minister, Isa Aliyu Pantami, once said that he was still a happy man when infidels were slaughtered.
“Whenever unbelievers are killed, we are all happy,” Mr Pantami said. “However, the Sharia prohibits us from killing them without cause.”
He went on to say, “Our zeal (hamasa) does not take precedence over our observance of the sacred law.”
Mr Pantami’s remarks were recorded in three audio recordings from his lectures in the 2000s, when he took extreme positions in favor of Al Qaeda and Taliban elements on a mission to obliterate the West and conquer other parts of the world.
During a lecture about the Taliban, he made the remarks in response to audience questions about his thoughts on Osama Bin Laden. “I still consider him as a better Muslim than myself,” Mr Pantami said of Mr Bin Laden, the late Al Qaeda leader who was responsible for bringing down the World Trade Center in an attack that killed over 3,000 people in 2001.
Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy, translated Mr Pantami’s remarks. Musa Ibrahim, a Nigerian scholar at the University of Florida in the United States, contributed to a paper that looked into the origins of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The study was released in March 2019 by top journal publisher academia.edu, several months before Mr Buhari appointed Mr Pantami as a minister. Mr Pantami’s aggressive sermons, delivered in Hausa and Arabic in the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, went largely unnoticed by Nigeria’s mass media.
Mr Pantami did not respond to a request from Peoples Gazette for comment on whether or not he has abandoned his violent Salafist beliefs.
It’s unclear how many people have been radicalized by Mr Pantami. Mr Pantami’s views, according to Messrs Brigaglia and Ibahim, were uncommon among Islamic preachers across Africa at the time they were expressed, despite being widespread among Nigerian Muslims.
“It was common for mainstream Salafis in Nigeria to openly support Al-Qaeda in their speeches and lectures,” the scholars said. “Nigeria was possibly a one-of-a-kind event in the Muslim world in this regard.”
Mr Pantami, 48, was well-known as a hate preacher in northern Nigerian universities and other public institutions before President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as the head of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in 2016.
Following his reelection as president in 2019, Mr. Buhari elevated Mr. Pantami even higher, appointing him to head the federal government’s communications and digital economy ministry. Mr. Pantami has been accused of abusing his influence to further his fundamentalist agenda.
His decision to halt the registration of new telephone lines in Nigeria has been one of his most divisive policy decisions to date. Millions of Nigerians have been unable to register new lines as a result of the change, which is based on the premise that everybody must obtain a government-issued national identification number.
Mr Pantami’s venomous remarks emerged after claims that the US had imposed travel restrictions on him due to alleged links to Boko Haram. The minister moved quickly to refute the lurid and unsubstantiated argument, which was first reported by the Lagos-based Daily Independent.
Mr Pantami, however, took to Twitter to refute the story, claiming that he has always preached against Boko Haram. He also retweeted many accounts that portrayed him as a peaceful Islamic scholar, an attempt at image laundering that Italian and African scholars have debunked.
“In a secular country like Nigeria, President Buhari will nominate a man like Isa Pantami to be a minister,” political analyst Mohammed Tukura told The Gazette. “A president who cares about national unity would not nominate a fundamentalist who holds the same beliefs as Boko Haram and Taliban leaders.”
Mr Pantami’s nomination should have been refused, according to Mr Tukura, because of his role in the WikiLeaks file, in which he claimed to have been expelled from Ahmadu Bello University for repeatedly espousing dangerous views.
“We saw on the internet that he was expelled from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University after the US government accused him of making dangerous comments,” Mr Tukura said. “By appointing him as a minister, Buhari’s sectional and divisive way of life has been further exposed.”
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