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I’ve no connection with Boko Haram, says Pantami

…reacts to his being placed on US security watch list

 

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has refuted the allegation which allegedly placed him on a ‘terror watch list’ for alleged ties with the late Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf.

 

T he minister, who was reacting to a report that the United States had placed him under the radar of some of its security agencies due to his alleged ties to terrorists, said he had been preaching against Boko Haram for over 15 years over its condemnable doctrines and practices.

 

Pantami, an Islamic cleric, was alleged to have been a mentor to the founder of the militant Islamist group, who was killed in 2009 in the North-East. Yusuf’s death triggered a chain of violent activities, including era bombings, kidnappings and hostage-taking, among others, that has led to massive death and destructions in the North-East.

 

Reacting to the allegation on Twitter, Patanmi stated: “My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria.

 

If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.” The social media, especially Twitter, was awash yesterday, following the reports which some news platforms later retracted and apologised to the minister.

 

The report noted that Pantami, before his emergence as a minister, was trained in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with other top Islamic jihadists. The report also alleged that he was a known Islamic preacher and held what was termed ‘dangerous views’ against the American government with allegiance to Al-Qaeda. According to a report, the minister was alleged to be a very close confidante of the late Mohammed Yusuf; the killed leader of Boko Haram with whom he allegedly shared jihadist doctrines. The minister was also alleged to have had ties with Abu Quata¬da al Falasimi and other Al-Qa-  eda leaders that he revered; which he spoke glowingly of in several of his videos on YouTube. In one of his narratives, Pantami had eulogised Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi as a great leader.

 

Al-Zarqawi had joined the Al-Qaeda group; after emigrating to Afghanistan at the end of the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Centre in America.

 

Pantami, in one of his statements, allegedly wrote about Abu Musab: “Under the Osama’s leadership; he became the unit commander of the army of Al- Qaeda; with the support of the Commander of the loyal Maula Umar (Taliban leader).

 

“It was after the September 11 attack that he suffered serious leg injury and was taken to Iraq for treatment where he spent a long time recovering.”

 

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