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My past extremist comments were made when I was young – Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has denounced his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which have become the source of heated debate and controversy in the mainstream and social media recently.

Dr. Pantami, who spoke on Saturday during an interactive session at his daily Ramadan Lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, said his past controversial comments were made when he was young and he stated emphatically that he is now more mature and better informed.

“I was young when I made some of the comments: I was in university and 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 the international events; and therefore, took some positions based on their understanding; some have come to change their positions later,” he said

He revealed that he had traveled to some states in the country and to the Niger Republic in the past 15 years to educate people about the dangers of terrorism and added that during his religious sojourn he has written many pamphlets and engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies with the view to make them refine their ideologies for the good of all.

Pantami said he has managed to help many young persons who have derailed to retrace their steps and emphasized that most of the comments generating controversy today were made many years based on his understanding of religious views then. He added that he has changed several positions taken in the past based on his religious exposure and maturity.

It would be recalled that RovingNaija reported the decision of a group, Concerned Nigerian, to write the US Embassy in Nigeria to investigate Dr. Isa Pantami over the hardline religious comments credited to him. In a letter signed by Comrade Deji Adeyanju, the group charged the US government to permanently place Pantami on the terror watchlist should it find him culpable in the course of its investigation.

The angst from the group and many Nigerians dominated the media space throughout last week as calls for Pantami’s resignation or direct sack by President Muhammadu Buhari gained currency. The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) also joined the fray by demanding for the immediate sack of the Minister.

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