With condemnations trailing the alleged linking of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ibrahim Isa Pantami, to Boko Haram and other terrorist groups by a Nigerian newspaper, the Embassy of the United States of America in Abuja could not confirm the allegation.
Responding to a request for clarification over a media report linking the Minister to terrorism, the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy could not provide any information but referred PRNigeria to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency.
In a short message to PRNigeria it states that “Thank you for your inquiry, however, we defer all press inquiries on Minister Pantami to the FBI”
An unconfirmed report by Daily Independent claimed that the United States government allegedly placed Pantami on a watchlist for reported links with Boko Haram leaders without providing any source of the claim other than citing the “America’s Intelligence Service.”
Further investigation via the official website of FBI, Mr. Pantami’s name was nowhere to be found in the list of Most Wanted Terrorists, Fugitives or other Criminals.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) has condemned as sensational and speculative media reports unleashed on the personality of Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami in what it described as a desperate attempt to stop him on his transformative tracks by linking him up to terrorist associations.
The group which is an advocacy network for the promotion of Nigeria’s digital transformation and Media narratives towards creating awareness on Digital Economy opportunities says the development confirms the extent to which enemies of National growth and Development can go in order to stop the country from progressing.
The group in a statement by its Coordinator Mohammed Dahiru Lawal noted that it is a known fact the terrorist groups like Boko Haram Haram has continuously threatened the life of the Minister for introducing policies that seek to frustrate terrorist activities through his Ministry arguing that it is therefore ironic for the same personality to be associated with terrorism.
“First, the so-called report tried to establish a nexus between his alleged ties to terrorism and study in Saudi Arabia wherein Pantami studied in Nigeria, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, not Saudi Arabia.
“While the report failed to mention the official US Institution that allegedly placed him on a ‘terrorist watchlist,’ or backs its claims with a credible, verifiable and identifiable source, it tried hard to associate him with Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammad Yusuf in an old video in which Pantami was actually debating against Yusuf’s ideology of forbidding western education,” the group said.
It maintained that the Ministry of Communication was sleepy until Pantami took over and championed redesignation of the Ministry’s Name to include responsibilities for creating and formulating Policies for a sustainable Digital Economy for Nigeria which has achieved remarkable successes as reflected in the seventy-two pages compendium of achievements released to mark the one year of the Ministry’s existence.
NADIR, therefore, urged Nigerians not to be gulled by rumours and flat out lies that are meant to distract attention from the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy laudable projects which is gradually placing the country on the path of glory.