Michael Numa, counsel for Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has insisted that the reports of the minister being placed on the US terror watch list are fake.
The lawyer explained that Pantami only engaged the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf in a public debate many years ago to challenge his (Yusuf’s) doctrinal teachings which according to him are in total opposite to the Islamic doctrine.
Numa maintained that the minister has not been placed on any ‘terror watch list’ for alleged ties with Yusuf. Naija News understands that the senior partner at a legal firm, Karina Tunya and Company, stated this in a letter he signed on April 12, 2021.
The letter which was addressed to the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Daily Independent Newspaper, described the trending report as “false, malicious, misleading,” adding that it was targeted at degrading Pantami.
Also copied in the letter was the Inspector General of Police; as well as the Directors-General of the Department of State Services and the National Intelligence Agency.
Naija News had reported earlier that the minister was allegedly placed on the watchlist over alleged ties with Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda, a report Pantami himself denied on Monday, April 12.
Numa in the communique titled ‘Libelous Statement Made Against The Person Of Dr Isa Pantami –The Honourable Minister Of Communication And Digital Economy’, said “it is pertinent to state that our client has at no point been placed on any watchlist or adjudged by any intelligence organisation worldwide to be associated with any terrorist organisation or known for advocating violent theology.”
He added: “It is on record that our client was among the first scholars to engage the late Boko Haram Leader, Muhammed Yusuf – in a public debate to challenge his doctrinal teachings as being entirely antithesis to Islamic doctrine. In fact, his televised debate with the late Yusuf has been one of the reference points often used to fight those who want to skew Islam in order to lend credibility to terrorism in Nigeria.
“It is further on record that in February 2021, the acclaimed Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a 9-minute video announced that he has instructed his men to target and kill our client for being a known public critic of Boko Haram and for introducing a policy on SIM cards to frustrate terrorist activities in Nigeria.”
Numa threatened the news platform that published the report retract the story within 24 hours of receipt of the letter, adding that the retraction must be published in “five national dailies and online media outfits across the globe”.
Meanwhile, the federal government of Nigeria has alerted on reported plans by some criminal elements to launch attacks on some airports in the country.
Naija News reports that a memo from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) indicated that it received a warning from the ministry of aviation over plans to attack some airports in the country.