I was young when I made some of the comments, I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a…
Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami, has renounced some contoversial comments he made on Al Qaeda and Taliban.
The minister has been under fire over the comments which were interpreted as endorsing the extremist sects.
Social media users and some government critics have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fire him if he fails to step down.
But while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, the minister said he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.
He said the campaign against him is politically motivated.
“For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
“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.
“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.”
Though Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami denounces any allegiance to Boko Haram, he expressed support for the global extremist groups, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Mr Pantami said in one of his vicious preachings in the 2000s. “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al Qā‘ida).”
Mr Pantami’s call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups portray him as a dyed-in-the-wool Islamic fundamentalist. Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Pantami as communications minister to control the country’s massive data and telephone infrastructure and other sensitive details of national intelligence.
When contacted on Wednesday by newsmen regarding his support for the terrorist groups, the minister did not comment.
On Monday, Mr Pantami threatened to sue some media platforms for reporting that he is on the U.S. terror watchlist for supporting Boko Haram.
The minister had claimed on Twitter that his lectures “against the doctrines and all other evil people (terrorists) have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria.”
But he failed to acknowledge that he is an avowed supporter of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, as revealed in a 2019 academic document ‘Debating Boko Haram’.
Mr Pantami invited Muslims, especially “Ahlus Sunna” (Salafis), to be sceptical of politicians and religious leaders calling for peace and understanding but retaliate with jihad.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria (hādhā jihād farḍ ‘ayn ‘ala kull muslim wa-khuṣūṣan fī Nījīriyā),” he added. Mr Pantami’s comments were translated by Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy. Nigerian scholar Musa Ibrahim of the University of Florida in the United States contributed to the paper that explored the onset of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Top journal publisher academia.edu published the research in March 2019, several months before Mr Buhari tapped Mr Pantami as a minister. Mr Pantami’s violent preachings, which he rendered in Hausa and Arabic throughout the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, had gone largely unreported in the Nigerian mainstream media.
The document detailed how Mr Pantami offered himself as a volunteer to mobilise the Hisba police of the North, requesting to be appointed as the “commander” (kwamanda) of a militia (ready to travel to Yelwa Shendam) to fight in defence of the Muslims.
The speech, which is about 20 minutes long, concluded with the prayer, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda (Allahumma’ nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm alQā‘ida).”
“During his speech, Pantami is in tears, and his voice is often broken by sighs. The genuineness of his emotional response to what was, without doubt, a dramatic episode in the history of violent conflict in Plateau state is obvious,” said the report.
In a second speech, delivered in 2006, Mr Pantami offered his public condolences for the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Zarqawi.
“May God have mercy on Aḥmad alFāḍil al-Khalayleh, raḥmatullāh’ alayhi. May God forgive his mistakes. He is a human being. He has certainly some mistakes in front of God, so may God forgive his mistakes. Who am I talking about? He is Abū Muṣ‘ab al-Zarqāwī.
“He was born in 1966 of the Christian era, that is forty years ago. […] After some time, he was given responsibility for a camp in Herat. It was the Commander of the Faithful (Amīr almu’minīn) Mollah Omar ‒ may God preserve him ‒ who personally gave him the authority to run this camp.”
The document noted Mr Pantami as further saying, “To this date, in the community of the Prophet we have some awesome people, people of awesome faith, who follow the creed of the Sunna and thanks to whom the enemies of God are unable to find rest in this world.
“They have killed the Shaykh, the martyr Abdallah Yusuf Azzam ‒ may God have mercy on him ‒ but did the struggle end? They went on to strike Chechnya, and they killed many of them: did it end? […] Whenever one goes, another one comes, and he is even more awesome than the first,” Mr Pantami added.
In 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan made a veiled reference to the fact that terrorists and their sympathisers had infiltrated his government. Boko Haram and other terror groups in the country have continued to terrorise Nigerians by the wanton destruction of lives and property. Source: Peoples Gazzette
With growing insecurity across the country, secessionist agitations and ethno-religious crisis, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has warned that Nigeria is heading for the brink, urging that there is an urgent need to pull it back.
“Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brinks and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe,” he said in a letter inviting leaders of opinion to a town hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Kaduna.
Also concerned by the raging strife across the land, the Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd)-led National Peace Committee (NPC) is also convening a meeting today in Abuja to discuss the way forward. Nigeria has recently witnessed increasing insecurity, leading to the killing of security agents and innocent citizens by bandits.
The security crisis has made many Nigerians and members of the international community to express concerns about the state of the nation. Mohammed, in a letter, inviting prominent Nigerians for a town hall meeting in Kaduna tomorrow said the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences need to be addressed urgently. He said with the situation, the country is heading for the brink.
He said: “As you may observe, Nigeria has failed to manage its diversity. Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brink and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe.
“Increasingly, we are seeing this lack of capacity to manage our diversity manifesting in a general state of insecurity as witnessed in the heightened incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping.
“Closely tied to all these are the dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation. But the story of Nigeria has not always been this negative. How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative to present our country in the best of light? This requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities, leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.’’
Mohammed added that the correct starting point towards addressing the problems is building an elite consensus on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria. He said such elite consensus had worked in the past and there is a need to find out why it is not working again as well as to proffer solutions because Nigeria is truly at a tipping point.
In the invitation letters sent to many opinion moulders nationwide, the minister said a broad-based and inclusive town hall meeting has been fixed for Kaduna tomorrow to discuss some of the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences.
“The proposed town hall meeting will aim at developing concrete implementable resolutions because a lot of theoretical talks and postulation had taken place with little or no requisite outcome. “The event will be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari. Reputable scholar, Prof. Jibril Ibrahim, will be the lead presenter and will set the tone for discussion with Prof. Saka Nuru, Prof. Chudi Uwazurike and Prof Kokunre Eghafonaas as guest discussants,’’ the letter stated.
The meeting is expected to be attended by the leadership of the legislature, governors, ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders and members of the international community amongst others.
Similarly, the Abdulsalami-led peace committee has also scheduled a meeting of prominent leaders for today in Abuja to address what it described as the “escalating spate of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, regional agitations, the killing of innocent citizens and other forms of violence.’’ It added that the vexed issues have continued to cause deep concern to well-meaning citizens at home and abroad. NPC said it had been receiving requests from Nigerians, urging it to intervene. (ThisDay)
•Deploys security, intelligence agents to Imo, South-East region
By Jude Johnson
President Muhammadu Buhari has described Monday’s attacks on the correctional center and police headquarters in Imo State as “acts of terrorism”.
Buhari, who is currently on a two-week sick leave in London, reacted to the attacks through his senior media assistant, Garba Shehu.
The president ordered the immediate deployment of officers from all security and intelligence agencies in the state and South-East region toward apprehension of the suspects behind the attacks.
Buhari said the assailants must be made to pay for the consequences of their actions according to provisions of the law.
The president also ordered the immediate arrest of inmates who were freed during the attack on the correctional facility, saying many of them are believed to be “deadly criminals”.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had earlier accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) of being behind the attacks.
Read full statement:
PRESIDENT BUHARI CONDEMNS DARING TERRORIST ATTACKS IN IMO
DIRECTS RELEVANT FG AGENCIES TO TERMINATE THIS ANARCHY
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the deadly insurgent attack that took place on the Police Command Headquarters and the Correctional Facility in Owerri, Imo State, on Monday, calling it an act of terrorism.
In his reaction to the incident early on Monday, President Buhari praised the initial response by security guards and security forces for preventing greater loss of life and the destruction of public property.
The President directed security and intelligence agencies in the state and the geo-political zone to fully mobilize and go after the terrorists, apprehend them and get them punished under the full weight of the law.
He also called for the best efforts to be made to rearrest fleeing prison detainees, many of whom are believed to be deadly criminals.
President Buhari then appealed to members of the public to assist the law enforcement agencies with any relevant information that could lead to the apprehension of these criminals who perpetrated this despicable act.
He also urged members of the public to be vigilant as all of us have a stake in preserving our way of life from disruption by terrorists and anarchists while the Federal Government will use every available tool at its disposal to confront and terminate this bare-faced anarchy.
Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) April 05, 2021
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, has given 48 hours ultimatum to the troops of the Nigerian Army to clear Boko Haram from reported captured areas of Borno State.
Marte, a local government in the troubled state was recently reported to have been attacked and taken over by Boko Haram.
Some communities in the state including Kirenowa, Kirta. Wulgo, Chikingudo in Marte and Ngala local government areas were reported to have a strong presence of the terrorist group.
The COAS who on Sunday addressed the troops of the Nigerian Army Super Camp 9, Dikwa gave the order that the insurgents should be cleared from the reported areas in the next 48 hours.
He said “areas around Marte, Chikingudu, Wulgo Kirenowa and Kirta must be cleared in the next 48 hours.”
The COAS who said he had spoken to the Theater Commander, and the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, told the troops that ”you must not let this nation down. Go back and do the needful and I will be right behind you.”
He told them: “You should be rest assured of all support you required in this very onerous task.”
The Army Chief equally said: ”You are aware of the recent attack on Dikwa and Marte, you should not allow this to happen again, go after them and clear these bastards”.
The COAS, who commended the efforts of the troops in the fight against Boko Haram, said: ”I am here to deliver the greetings of Mr. President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buahri. I have spoken with your Commanders, we are going to provide you the equipment and weapons you need to end this war.
“We are also going to address the issue of over stay in the theatre. No more issue of over stay”.
The COAS while addressing the residents of Dikwa and those who fled during the recent onslaught on Marte, but now taking refuge in Dikwa, he said: ”I want to assure you that we are going to protect you, not only that we are going to clear Marte, Kirenuwa, Wulgo, Kirta and their environs. What we need from you is your cooperation and prayers.”
A Baghdad court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, as part of its investigation into the killing of a top Iraqi paramilitary commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Al-Muhandis, who was the Deputy Head of Iraq’s largely pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, was killed in the same US drone strike that took out Iranian general Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport on January 3 last year.
Trump, who ordered the strike, subsequently boasted that it had taken out “two (men) for the price of one”.
The UN special rapporteur for an extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has called the twin killings as “arbitrary” and “illegal”.
Iran already issued a warrant for the arrest of Trump in June and asked Interpol to relay it as a so-called red notice to other police forces around the world.
The court for east Baghdad has now issued the warrant for Trump’s arrest under Article 406 of the penal code, which provides for the death penalty in all cases of premeditated murder, the judiciary said.
The court said the preliminary inquiry had been completed but “investigations are continuing to unmask the other culprits in this crime, be they Iraqis or foreigners.”
A Fulani group that calls itself the Fulani Nationality Movement on Sunday claims ownership of all lands from Sokoto to the Atlantic Ocean in the south, and also gave a notice of planned conquest of the entire territory.
The group under the acronyms FUNAM dropped the bombshell in statement in reaction to the killings in Plateau state by armed Fulani herdsmen, claiming that there is claim of the existence of a Fulani Strike Force that coordinated what it called a retaliatory attack against Birom people in Barkin Ladi, in Plateau state.
President of the group Badu Salisu Ahmadu was unapologetic about the killings, said the killings were justifiable as the Fulani had been attacked before the counter attack.
And he laid an operating philosophy of the ethnic nationality: “For the avoidance of doubt, our heritage is that ANY ATTACK ON A SINGLE FULANI IS AN ATTACK ON ALL. ANY OF SUCH ATTACKS MUST BE COUNTERED WITH TRIPLE MEASURE”
Ahmadu claimed that Plateau is an indigenous territory of the FULANI people.
“We are the first to settle in Plateau-Benue axis thousands of years ago. We shall take and possess every inch of this land; A conscious attempt to rewrite history and distort, manipulate or destroy our past will be resisted with all the might at our disposal”.
“We have said it over and over, that Nigeria is the only inheritance we have in Africa and anywhere in the world. This land belongs to us, from Sokoto to the banks of the Atlantic Ocean. This was the destiny bestowed on Uthman Dan Fodio which would have been fulfilled since 1816 if not for the obstruction of this great assignment by the British. It is no longer time to play the ostrish. Our men are waiting. We are eager to fight. We are boiling with the zeal to actualize our dream; enough of double dealing and ambivalence by FULANI political leaders who unfortunately think the FULANI can only take back what belongs to us through appeasement and elections destined to reflect cultural values antithetical to the preachings of Uthman Dan Fodio.”
According to him, there is a clear agenda to divide Nigeria and exterminate the Fulani people. “We are long aware of this plot. We call on FULANI all over Africa to prepare for this inevitable war and set our people on an offensive path rather than being weaklings that choose a defensive strategy in warfare.”
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as “Shiites” has been declared a terrorists organisation after series of deadly protest by its members led to the death of Usman Umar, a Deputy Commissioner of police and Precious Owolabi, a Channels Television reporter.
Justice Nkeonye Maha, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, made the declaration on Friday.
The group had engaged the Nigerian police and other security agencies in several clashes over the continuous detention of its leader in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzakky and wife.
With the order according to Punch, the court restrained any person or group of persons from participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the IMN under any name or platform in Nigeria.
A copy of the ex parte application marked FHC/ABJ/CS/876/2019, was filed in the name of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Reports say Justice Maha granted the four prayers contained in the application shortly after the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, argued the application on Friday.
The IMN was the sole respondent to the application but the group was not represented by a lawyer on Friday since it was an ex parte hearing.
It would be recalled that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was also proscribed and declared terrorists group two years ago by the Federal Government following the activities of its leader Nnamdi Kanu. (NAN)
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A renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gummi, has said the best Jihad for Muslims to pursue in this modern time is knowledge and not killings of innocent lives.
He described both western and Islamic knowledge as best form of Jihad every Muslim male or female should acquire.
The scholar made the comment while closing this year’s Tafsir lecture at Sultan Bello Mosque Kaduna on Sunday evening.
He said due to poor understanding of the concept of Islam, many youths have misunderstood the true message of Islam and are using verses of Jihad to cause havoc and to kill innocent people.
The Islamic cleric explained that there was an Hadith that says before the end of time, true knowledge will be lifted off while ignorant remains and there will be lot of commotion.
“What commotion means here is lot of killings and murder between Muslims all in the name of Islam.
“Islam is free of such obligations because Allah has not called anyone to kill anybody. There is a system of jihad and the best jihad now is knowledge.
“We need to educate our daughters in the field of medicine if we want to free our married women from being attended to by male doctors. “We need to make sure our male children go into ICT because everything today is about ICT.
“There are also other important sectors that Muslims are lacking and we need to acquire such knowledge if we really want to be important in the society.
“All these are jihad that we need to do for our future generations. So, whoever tries to obtain knowledge no matter how, he is a ‘Mujahid’.
“Therefore, all these killings are directed by ignorance and lack of moral education which makes it the most paramount targets of the congregation. May Allah give us victory over all evil army,” he said. (Daily Trust)
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