Communications Minister, Sheik Pantami Abandons Office, Goes Into Hiding

Sheik Pantami

Information available to indicates the federal minister of communication and digital economy may have abandoned his official office at the federal secretariat – and has gone into hiding.  This is according to federal workers attached to the federal ministry of communication and digital economy. They reveal the federal minister has not been sighted at his official office since April 2021. Unconfirmed reports indicate Pantami reports to one of the offices of the Nigeria Communication Commission – from where he operates daily in secret without access to the public.

“He has been in hiding since early this year”

Shortly following the SIM revalidation exercise embarked on by the federal minister of communications and digital economy in September 2019, the leader of Boko Haram issued a threat on the life of the federal minister.

As a caveat, the federal minister in September 2019 had directed Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] to implement the SIM Card registration and usage policy for the revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs. This is to ensure an individual can only have a maximum number of three [3] SIM cards, while new users of existing SIM Cards are expected to update their details with their NINs before December 1, 2020.

This development did not augur well with the leadership of Boko Haram.

On 13 Feb 2020, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau issued an open threat. He condemned the new policy to restrict the number of mobile SIM cards a subscriber can legally own. He also reminded Pantami of the fate of Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, a cleric that was assassinated in his mosque in Kano, and called on terrorists across Africa to target him saying, “My brothers in Africa, Nigeria or elsewhere, what happened to Jaafar is nothing, take action on Isa Ali Pantami wherever you find him.”

The threat was taking seriously by the President Buhari administration – who acted beefed up security around Pantami. Evidently, the security beef up seemed inadequate to ease the fear instilled in the mind of the federal minister by the Boko Haram leader. As April of 2021 rolled by, Pantami could no longer bear the unfolding ordeal.

The numerous revelations made by Online newspaper concerning Pantami’s past as a terrorist sympathizer and preacher of hate – appeared to have broken the Carmel’s back.  

An audio published by Peoples Gazette showed that Pantami was sympathetic to Boko Haram members when delivering sermons in the mid to late 2000s. This revelation led to further resurfacing of Pantami’s old speeches, including a 2004 speech where he expressed support for the Taliban and al-Qaeda (“Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda”) and claimed that “jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria.” These speeches along with other speeches like one from 2006 where Pantami mourned the death of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (“May God have mercy on Ahmad Fadeel al-Khalayleh [al-Zarqawi’s birth name]) were included in a 2019 academic monograph Debating Boko Haram published by the Centre for Contemporary Islam at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The statements ignited controversy and calls for Pantami’s resignation as Communications Minister. But the presidency through its spokesperson, Garba Shehu released a statement backing Pantami, saying while “the views were absolutely unacceptable then, and would be equally unacceptable today…Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change… The Administration stands behind Minister Pantami”.

Sheik Pantami took to his heels shortly after the revelations. He abandoned his office at the federal secretariat – where up until April 2021 – he was seen reporting to work daily. Till date, nearly eight [8] months later, he has yet to report to his office. Instead, information has it that he reports to a office located along Airport road in Abuja – where he secretly reports and does not attend to the public. Does not attend to the public.



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