- Nigeria's communications minister, Pantami, has denied having issues against Christians
- On the contrary, the embattled minister said he has a good relationship with Christians, some of whom are members of his staff
- Pantami also denied in strong terms affiliation with any terrorist groups
Isa Pantami, Nigeria's minister of communications and digital economy, says he has no issues with Christians, contrary to insinuations being made in some media reports.
Pantami who is a prominent Islamic scholar noted that he has a good relationship with Christians, adding that his personal driver, secretary and technical adviser are all Christians.
Pantami also said past comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda were being misconstrued by some people claiming he had links with them (the terrorist groups).
He was quoted to have said:
“My personal driver is Mai Keffi, a practising Christian. I also have a Christian, Ms Nwosu, as my secretary and Dr Femi, also a Christian, as my technical adviser.
“If I did not like Christians or I did not see them as my brothers and sisters, I would not have been working with them for so long. I employed more Christians than Muslims on my staff because I believe in merit and competence over ethnic or tribal sentiments.”
The minister reiterated that he has no affiliation with terrorist groups, adding that he has for years preached peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance.
“I have never condoned terrorism and I reject any affiliation to terror groups. I have long preached peaceful coexistence amongst people of every faith and ethnicity."
Pantami has come under fire after a newspaper claimed that he was on the United State's terrorism watch list, with some Nigerians calling for his sack.
However, the newspaper has since retracted the story and apologised to the minister after threatening to drag them to court.
In another interview, Pantami said allegations that he has links with extremists are lies. According to him, the allegations are being spread by people who are unhappy that the government is linking National Identification Number (NIN) with telephone SIMs.
He claimed that some forces are determined to stop the policy of compulsory national identity registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country.