One Love Foundation, a civil society organization (CSO), has called for the resignation of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr. Isa Pantami, following allegations of religious extremism and inciting violence against non-Muslims.
The CSO in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by its Global President, Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor, vowed to commence nationwide protest against him if he fails to resign within 72 hours.
In a series of reports, complete with audiographic, Online platforms has unearthed sermons by Pantami that amounted to unvarnished homiletic endorsements of terrorism and intolerance of non-Muslims.
The group said it would henceforth take legal action against the likes of Pantami to ensure that public servants with questionable character like Pantami vacate their seats pending the outcome of their investigation.
The statement said, “As stakeholders in the Nigeria project, we shall henceforth go all out including seeking legal means to ensure that public servants facing questionable characters vacate their seats pending the outcome.
“We hereby issue a 72-hour ultimatum to Mr. Isa Pantami to resign from office barring which we shall massively mobilise our civil society partners to picket wherever Pantami is.
“It is worrisome and unacceptable to have a sitting Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is a cabinet member of the Federal Executive Council engage in religious extremism and inciting violence against non-Muslims.
“There is no way he (Pantami) can be patriotic to a circular nation like Nigeria when we heard him in a sermon inciting violence against non-Muslims.
“As well summarised by his friend, Kperogi; Pantami, had in response to a question about Osama bin Laden’s “killing of innocent unbelievers,” Pantami said although he conceded that Bin Laden was liable to err because he was human, “I still consider him as a better Muslim than myself” and pointed out that “We are all happy whenever unbelievers are being killed, but the Sharia does not allow us to kill them without a reason.” You can’t defend that.
“People’s Gazette also unearthed an audiotape in which he engaged in a weepy defense of Boko Haram terrorists against extra-judicial killings and asked for an amnesty for them just like Niger Delta militants. “See what our fellow Muslim brothers’ blood has turned to? Even pig blood has more value than that of a fellow Muslim brother,” he said.
“In the aftermath of the religious crisis in Shendam in Plateau State in 2004 in which Christian militiamen murdered scores of Hausa Muslims, Pantami was livid and tearful. In an audio of his preaching, he said the “Ahlus Sunna,” that is, people who are now called Salafists, should strike back and shun politicians and religious clerics who preached peace and restraint.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria (hādhā jihād farḍ ‘ayn ‘ala kull muslim wa-khuṣūṣan fī Nījīriyā),” he said.
“In his March 2019 paper titled “The ‘Popular Discourses of Salafi Counter-Radicalism in Nigeria’ Revisited: A Response to Abdullahi Lamido’s Review of Alexander Thurston, Boko Haram,” Professor Andrea Brigaglia of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, writes:
“Subsequently, Pantami offers himself as a volunteer to mobilise the Hisba police of the Muslim-majority states and to be appointed as the ‘commander’ (Hausa: kwamanda) of a militia ready to travel to Yelwa Shendam to join the fight in defence of the Muslims. The speech, which is about twenty minutes long, concludes with the prayer: ‘Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda’ (Allahumma ’nṣur Ṭālibān wa-tanẓīm al-Qā‘ida).”
“With this summarised evidence, can we say such a person is fit to be a Minister? We urge him to resign as he is not fit to hold any public office.” The statement said.