Isa Ali Ibrahim, also known as Sheikh Pantami, is a Nigerian politician and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

Background

His mother was Hajiya Amina Ahmed and his father was Alhaji Ali Ibrahim Pantami.[1]

Age

Isa Ali Pantami was born on 20 October 1972.

Wife

No details could be found regarding Isa Pantami's wife.

Children

No details could be found regarding Isa Pantami's children.

Education

Career

Controversies

Alleged Link To Boko Haram

In April 2021, there were reports that Isa Pantami was linked to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban. Isa Pantami threatened to sue some media platforms for publishing a report that claimed he has ties with Boko Haram.

On 12 April 2021, NewsWire published a report taken from Independent Newspaper that said Pantami was on the watchlist of the United States for allegedly aiding the activities of terrorist group Boko Haram.

The report which circulated across social media platforms elicited different reactions from Nigerians, with many on Twitter, claiming the minister, who spearheads Nigeria’s citizen’s identity data gathering, was doing so for Boko Haram, Al Queada, and other terrorist groups.

An aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, said the media platforms that circulated the report had endorsed a fake report without verifying and stated that Isa Pantami was not on any US watchlist.

NewsWire thereafter deleted the published article on its website and took down the Twitter post which garnered over 7,000 likes, retweets, and comments as of 2:00 pm. But the minister said his lawyers will meet the publishers of the report in court.[2][3]

Audios

There were audios where Isa Pantami expressed views sympathetic to groups such as al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

In one sermon from the 2000s he said he considered al-Qaeda founder, Osama Bin Laden, a better Muslim than himself, and in another, he said he was happy when infidels were massacred.

Recordings of him expressing these views began circulating on social media last week, leading to calls for his resignation or sacking by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In response to calls for Isa Pantami to be fired, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said the minister was being "subject[ed] to a 'cancel campaign'".

Apart from the audios of Isa Panyami, documents purportedly from a 2010 meeting he chaired at the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a top Islamic body, where it was agreed that Christians should be prohibited from building churches in city centres across northern Nigeria, which has a majority Muslim population although millions of Christians also live there.

Audio and video recordings have also emerged of Mr Pantami's fiery prayers and sermons at different stages of his career as an imam. In one sermon he volunteered to lead a force of the Sharia police, Hisbah, to Shendam in Plateau state, where there had been a deadly religious conflict, to fight in defence of the Muslims.

In a 2006 speech, Mr Pantami publicly offered his condolences after the death of al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In one audio clip, where he talks about the Nigerian army's war against Boko Haram, he appears to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the militants as "our Muslim brothers" who did not deserve to be "killed like pigs". In another audio recording, he declares he is always happy when infidels are massacred.

He did not denied the authenticity of these texts, audio and video clips.[4]

While responding to questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Anoor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday 17 April 2021, Isa Pantami renounced some of the controversial comments he made in the past that showed he supported Islamic extremist views.

He noted that his position on the subject was based on the information he had at the time, some of which were the consensus opinion among clerics in northern Nigeria at the dawn of the faceoff between the West and some Islamic countries in the early mid-2000s. Isa Pantami said:

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity. I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”

[5]

References

  1. Olalekan Adetayo, Buhari condoles NITDA boss over mother’s death, PUNCH, Published: October 15, 2017, Retrieved: April 23, 2021
  2. Dennis Erezi, Pantami threatens to sue media platforms over alleged ties with Boko Haram, The Guardian Nigeria, Published: April 12, 2021, Retrieved: April 23, 2021
  3. Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Matthew Ogune Adamu Abuh (Abuja) and Eniola Daniel (Lagos), Pantami avoids questions from newsmen, The Guardian Nigeria, Published: April 20, 2021, Retrieved: April 23, 2021
  4. Nduka Orjinmo, Isa Pantami: The Nigerian minister haunted by extremist views, BBC, Published: April 23, 2021, Retrieved: April 23, 2021
  5. Yusuf Akinpelu, ‘I have changed several positions,’ Pantami says about past comments supporting extremism, Premium Times, Published: April 18, 2021, Retrieved: April 23, 2021