Boko Haram Terrorists Are Our Muslim Brothers, Shouldn’t Be killed Like Pigs - Minister Pantami - IReporteronline
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Boko Haram Terrorists Are Our Muslim Brothers, Shouldn’t Be killed Like Pigs – Minister Pantami

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s communications minister Isa Pantami once condemned Nigerian Army’s incursion into Boko Haram strongholds, describing the insurgents as “our Muslim” brothers who did not deserve to be killed like pigs.

“See what our fellow Muslim brothers’ blood has turned to? Even pig blood has more value than that of a fellow Muslim brother,” Mr Pantami lamented in a sermon issued a few years ago when former President Goodluck Jonathan ramped up military operations against the rampaging terror sect.

Peoples Gazette obtained the audio through an anonymous contact on Thursday night. The location of Mr Pantami’s sermon and those who attended could not be immediately obtained, but the words, nonetheless, contradicted his recent claims that he had long maintained a hardline posture against Boko Haram.

Mr Pantami’s media allies have also been on an image laundering blitz to cast him as a moderate preacher who has been widely celebrated for his longstanding contempt for Boko Haram. Mr Pantami also joined his supporters to amplify a threat issued against him by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, evoking it to dismiss insinuations of his sympathy towards terrorists as counter-intuitive.

But in the February 2020 video, Mr Shekau appeared more frustrated by what he saw as Mr Pantami’s betrayal in becoming a top government official after spending years preaching Salafi doctrine than he was about the minister’s purported condemnation of Boko Haram’s deadly exploits.

Mr Pantami has long been famous across northern parts of Nigeria as a respected Islamic cleric. He used most of his preachings to rail against the government’s high-handedness, and Peoples Gazette published a video on Thursday that showed him promising never to go into public service. The sermon was delivered in the mid-2000s, years before Mr Buhari appointed him in 2016 as the head of NITDA and later in 2019 as a cabinet minister in charge of communications.

“We are praying to God to answer all our prayers. It’s our right and obligation before all Muslim leaders, politicians, government appointees, academics,” Mr Pantami said in his prayers. “All of us should not fold their arms and watch helplessly how they shed our Muslim brothers’ blood and cheat them in vain.”

Mr Pantami said Boko Haram elements should have been treated with dignity as against the deadly military campaign, saying extermination of insurgents amounted to extrajudicial killing.

“Even if the Boko Haram fighters commit a crime, but can we justify the way and manner they are being killed?”

“Just look at how they are killing people as if they are shooting pigs even though they commit a crime, why the extrajudicial killing? Take them before the law for a fair trial.

“You caught someone sleeping and you killed him. If it’s not Muslims that undergo such treatments who else?” Mr Pantami said.

The minister also said the previous administration should have pampered Boko Haram insurgents in the same manner as the Niger-Delta militants. Unlike Boko Haram that has been on senseless bloodshed against Nigerians of every faith and creed, the militants were fighting for a better share of oil wealth explored and extracted from their parts of the country.

After about three years of their violent campaign, which largely involved frequent abduction of expatriate oil workers and exchange of fire with security forces, the militants acquiesced to economic solutions and relinquished their arms in a deal brokered by former President Umar Yar’Adua.

But Mr Pantami disregarded the context of both groups and instead took a parallel position on how the government should respond to them.

“The Niger Delta people did something similar to this. They massacre people, steal weapons, killed expatriates and kidnap some of them,” Mr Pantami said. “Yet, you still accept them back, open a ministry for them, gave them a minister and put them on a monthly salary pay without work.”

“The militants did more harm compared to what Boko Haram boys did,” the minister said. “But why will they do something like this? Why selective justice?”

The audio was part of a series of controversial sermons which Mr Pantami delivered at several worship centres and learning institutions across the northern parts of the country between the mid and late 2000s. The Gazette obtained the audio this week, most of which had already been transcribed and contextualised by an academic journal published online since March 2019.

Calls have now intensified for Mr Pantami to either publicly renounce his statements or step down from office, with some activists arguing that his position as a federal minister in charge of citizens’ data and the country’s telecoms infrastructure had become untenable.

As part of our series, The Gazette reached out to Mr Pantami repeatedly to learn whether or not he had renounced his controversial views but he declined all requests.

Source: Peoples Gazette

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JUST IN: 15 Die In Niger Boat Mishap

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At least, 15 people have died in a boat mishap in Tijana, Munya Local Government Area of Niger State while several others are still missing.

The boat mishap occurred at about 6:00 pm on Saturday when the villagers were returning from a local market in Zumba, Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Sarkin Kasuwan (Head of the Market) of Zumba, Mallam Adamu Ahmed, who confirmed the incident to Daily Trust, said the local boat was carrying over 60 people, including women and children when it capsized due to a heavy windstorm.

Among the victims were some returnees who had earlier fled their homes with their children due to bandits’ attacks.

Ahmed said 17 people have been rescued alive through the efforts of local divers who swung into action immediately after the incident was reported.

The local divers had defied the heavy downpour to continue their rescue operation as at the time of filing this reports as no help yet from the government.

It could be recalled that a similar boat mishap in the area claimed 13 lives in 2017 when a boat carrying 30 people capsized midway into their journey to the same Zumba market.

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BREAKING: Abducted ABSU Student Regains Freedom

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The only student of Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, still left in the custody of a criminal gang, which abducted some persons while journeying along the Okigwe-Uturu Road, has been released.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made this known this evening via his official Twitter handle@GovernorIkpeazu.

Governor Ikpeazu, who thanked God, security agencies and the management of ABSU for the release of the abducted student, expressed joy at the development and vowed that he will surely take justice to those involved in the kidnap and will not share the State with criminal elements.

His full tweet reads:

“It is with exceedingly great joy and a very pleasant sense of relief that I announce that the only kidnapped ABSU student who was still in the custody of the hoodlums that abducted some people a few days ago along the Okigwe-Uturu Road has been freed. I spoke with her and …her mother minutes ago and want to thank God, our security agents and the management of ABSU for a job well done leading to this good news.

“Our administration has since taken measures to strengthen the security around the area where the incident happened and even beyond it ensure the security of lives and property which remains my number one assignment as Governor and it is one duty I will never take lightly. We will surely take justice to those who abducted our student as we will not cohabit this state with criminals”.

DAILY POST gathered that the yet-to-be-confirmed number of students were kidnapped while transiting on a bus on Okigwe-Uturu Road.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the Abia State University, Professor O. M Ogbulu confirmed that two of the students escaped from the hoodlums while one student was still being held by them.

Addressing journalists in a press conference held in Umuahia, on Friday, Vice-Chancellor had assured that the school authority was working assiduously with security agencies to ensure the release of the students and prosecution of the culprits.

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Kogi Miyetti Allah Chairman Damina Regains Freedom

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The Chairman of the Kogi Chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Wakili Damina, who was allegedly kidnapped on Tuesday, has been released.

The state Secretary of the association, Mr Adamu Abubakar told newsmen in Lokoja on Saturday that Damina was released in Abuja late night of May 7.

Adamu said from Damina’s account, he was released by men suspected to be from one of the security agencies and not kidnappers as earlier suspected.

He said that Damina arrived at his Chikara home in the Kogi Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Saturday to reunite with his family.

Adamu had announced to newsmen in Lokoja on May 4, that Damina was taken away from his house by eight men dressed in military camouflage.

He said that the men forcefully took him away in a white bus.

He also said that all efforts to get across to him proved abortive as his telephone lines were switched off.

However, the secretary, said that the national body of the association had taken the matter up to ascertain why Damina whisked away in such a manner.

He also said that the group had instructed a lawyer to take the matter up.

Adamu then expressed the gratitude of the association to the state government, police, media and members of the public for their support and concern during the period.

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