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How Pantami Declared Support For Taliban And Al-Qaeda

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How Pantami Declared Support For Taliban And Al-Qaeda

The Nigerian social media sphere, in the last few days, awash with news alleging that Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, had a strong relationship with late Mohammed Yusuf, the killed leader of Boko Haram, an Islam sect terrorising the country.

While Pantami quickly debunked the news making round, little did members of the public know that the minister had in the past publicly declared his undying love for global extremist groups -the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Talibans themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan -they are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organisation in Afghanistan currently waging war within that country. On the other hand, Al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national terrorist organisation founded by Osama bin Laden (a terrorist killed by the U.S. government in 2011), and several other Arab volunteers during the Soviet–Afghan War. Al-Qaeda operates as a network of Islamic extremists and Salafist jihadists.

As seen in a 2019 academic document ‘Debating Boko Haram‘, Pantami openly admitted that jihad (a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty) is a responsibility shouldered on Muslim faithfuls. “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).”

The serving minister had invited Muslims, especially “Ahlus Sunna” (Salafis), for a forum, advising them 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. Pantami’s comments were translated by Professor Andrea Brigaglia, an African expert at Naples University in Italy.

How Pantami planned to replicate Al-Qaeda and Talban’s approach in Nigeria

The academic document published by academia.edu, detailed how Pantami offered himself as a volunteer to mobilise the Hisba police, a security outfit in the north that observe violations of Sharia. The minister said his appointment as the “commander” (kwamanda) of a militia (ready to travel to Yelwa Shendam) to fight in defence of the Muslims, would advance his faith commitment.

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,” the report read.

In another speech sighted in the document, 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.

“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,” he was quoted as saying.

Concerns from Nigerians

The average Nigerian citizenry is presently worried and insecure, as the minister who heads an agency with people’s data, is an observer of religious extremism.

Pantami who was screened by State Security Service (SSS) prior to his confirmation as a minister by the Senate, has some questions to answer as it concerns his arguments on jihad. But will he rush to his social media handles again for clarity on the things he was quoted as saying, just like he did in his reaction to the report on Daily Independent?

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Daily Headline News (Wednesday, 12-5-2021)

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EFCC Says It Recovered $153m, 80 Buildings From Alison-Madueke

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EFCC Says It Recovered $153m, 80 Buildings From Alison-Madueke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that it recovered $153 million and 80 buildings from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who has since been under probe for the looting of public funds and money laundering.

Making this disclosure, the new EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa said the buildings are valued at $80 million, adding that all the recoveries have been handed over to the Federal Government.

Bawa, however, noted that bringing the former minister to justice was still far from reality, given the fact that she is out of Nigeria’s jurisdiction and the challenges associated with bringing her home to face justice.

The EFCC chief’s words: “There are several cases surrounding Diezani’s case. I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 property in Nigeria valued at about $80 million. We have done quite a bit on that.

“The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery, is also ongoing across the federation. We are looking forward to the time we will, maybe, have her in the country, and, of course, review things and see what will happen going forward.
The case has certainly not been abandoned.’’

Speaking further, Bawa maintained that he’s ready to leave the job if anyone tried to make him do what was illegal.

“I am not going to pay allegiance to individuals in the government,” he said. Bawa pointed out that though he was young in age; he had paid the price on the job, having been among the pioneer staff of EFCC and passed through the crucible to reach the top.

“I rose through the ranks. The only job I know after graduation is the EFCC, which I joined in 2004. I rose through the ranks from an ordinary team member, to the first EFCC team leader from the regular staff of the EFCC.

“I became a sectional head, became the zonal head in Ibadan, zonal head in Port Harcourt, and zonal head in Lagos. Lagos is the biggest operational hub of the EFCC with over 600 personnel. Port Harcourt is next to it in terms of complexity and staff strength. I happen to be the first EFCC regular staff to head three different zones before my appointment as the chairman.

“The records are there. And it is a challenge I have taken upon myself to do without fear or favour. That is the truth. If anybody is coming to ask me to do something that is contrary to my conscience or what the EFCC is set out to achieve, I’m going to resign,” Bawa vowed.

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ALERT: Dreaded India’s COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

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ALERT: Dreaded India's COVID-19 Variant Discovered In Nigeria

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, has detected the COVID-19 strain, currently ravaging India, in Nigeria.

The variant, according to a report, was detected nearly three weeks ago and has been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had again restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned nightclubs following reports that the devastating COVID-19 strain in South Africa had spread to 23 other countries.

The detection of the Indian strain in Nigeria contributed to the fresh regulations issued by the Federal Government.

The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provided open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated Sunday, April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC, read in part, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”

Hapi, however, clarified that the strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.

“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.

“The one India evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics,” he added.

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