Minister of Communication and Digital Economic Ali Isa Pantami has renounced some controversial comments on Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The minister has been under fire over the comments which were interpreted as endorsing the extremist sects.
Social media users and some government critics have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fire him if he fails to step down.But while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, the minister said he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.He said the campaign against him is politically motivated.
DailyTrust quoted him to have said, “For 15 years, I have moved around the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have travelled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in the Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.“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 international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding. Some have come to change their positions later.”