- A former US ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has reacted over Pantami's saga
- Campbell said that America is more concerned about terrorist actions not thoughts
- The former envoy added that actions weigh more heavily than mere expressions or words
John Campbell, a former United States ambassador to Nigeria, has said that freedom of speech and thought is integral to the American system.
Daily Nigerian reports that Campbell said the American government could not have denied its visa to the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali-Pantami, based on a mere allegation.
Legit.ng gathered that while responding to an email chat with The Punch on the allegation on Thursday, April 22, the former ambassador said Pantami’s sermons and other public statements could not be the only yardstick for putting him on its terror watchlist.
Campbell, who served as ambassador to Nigeria between 2004 and 2007, said a consular officer would want to know when Pantami’s sermons and other public statements were made.
“There is also the question of whether he advocated violence and whether his apology is a repudiation of what he said. Is he now part of an international terrorist network? Or, are some of his views merely parallel to those of, say, Osama Bin Laden?
"As you know, freedom of speech and of thought is integral to the American system. So, actions (including inflammatory rhetoric) weigh more heavily than the mere expression of ideas or beliefs. Each visa decision is made on a case-by-case basis.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) have reacted over a document linking Pantami to the death of former Kaduna state governor Patrick Yakowa.
It was reported that the chairman of CAN, Kaduna state chapter, John Hayab, called on all Nigerians to ignore the insinuations linking Pantami with Yakowa’s death, in order not to endanger national peace.
In a related report, the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) reacted to a statement credited to Dennis Amachree, a former assistant director with the Department of State Security (DSS).
Amachree, recently revealed that the secret police must have known about the past extremists' views of the minister before his appointment.