By Mubarak Umar
It is not longer news that Nigeria is currently at war with its enemies within, and it is becoming more dangerous to our peaceful co-existence; all the six geo-political zones are at cyber war with one another that one may think like the country is not 60 years plus since gaining her independence from the British colony.
As usual, Nigerian cyber space woke up with the biggest fake story of the decade. The Daily Independent, an Abuja based newspapers intentionally reported unverified news that a revered Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has been listed on the US terrorist radar. That was not only unfounded, but an intentional allegation to tarnish his hard image.
Daily Independent and their cohorts were nimble to divulge that news in order to catch cruise. This is habitual news for click bait.
United State of America that has multiple channels of communicating on matters as serious as these, never in any way indicted Dr Pantami for alleged and baseless ties with Alqa’eda or Boko Harama.
For Daily Independent, this is abuse of journalism and journalists, and that will not distract Dr Pantami from his journey to promise land, especially in making Nigeria one of the countries generating revenues through Information and Communication Technology. His outstanding performance as a Minister will never be overemphasized, as he set to make Nigeria a leading country in Digital Economy.
These enemies of Nigeria chose cognitive distortions as they major source of peace of mind. They welcome negative thoughts that bring them bad feelings as well as longer periods of depression, like it will continue to fetch them severe negative moods sooner or later. They simply can’t live a positive life because of their negative mindset. They are indeed trapped in a zombie life, seeing the world as very dark and full of terror. What a waste.
The people who are somehow in support of what Daily Independent concocted and published without doing due diligence and investigation, are mostly those have in the past vented their anger on Pantami because of Federal Government Initiative which suggested that all Nigerians must obtained National Identity Number, a move taken to curb criminal activities, especially kidnapping, banditry and internet frauds.
Dr Pantami has never hid his total allegiance to Islamic religion, because he spent years preaching and teaching millions of people across the globe. At the early stage of Boko Haram, he was one of the few Islamic clerics that openly challenged the extremist group which attracted countless threats to his life.
In a video available on YouTube, which his enemies are sharing on social media without understanding the actual conversation because it is in his Hausa, Pantami could be heard challenging Muhammadu Yusuf’s fundamentalist and extremist views and showing him how flawed they were. Pantami in the video, told Yusuf that their views on western education and Muslim’s participation in democracy is problematic and erroneous, are totally un-Islamic.
The Islamic scholarly community in Nigeria is a very small, closely-knit one. It is not uncommon for scholars and clerics with opposing ideologies and differing views in this setting to publicly engage on doctrines and interpretation of the Koran, especially at that time Boko Haram haven’t gone violent. People like Pantami are the shoulder behind un-indoctrination of many youth in the North-East.
Pulse NG, a Nigerian online-based newspaper has reached out to the US Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Embassy in Nigeria, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through calls, emails and text messages on the allegations against Pantami in the local media.
A lady on the other end of the line at the US embassy in Nigeria said the allegation was untrue, before handing Pulse an email address for the press department and referring them to the FBI.
At the CIA and FBI, voices on the other ends of the lines first described the reports as untrue or hasty, before directing them to the publicly available terrorism list on the FBI website which Pulse has painstakingly gone through and there is no ‘Dr Pantami’ on the FBI’s terrorism or most wanted watch-list. It should also be taken into consideration that no US news outlet or credible news platform in Nigeria has reported this bit of trending fake news.
Insinuations that Pantami’s name is on a US terror watch-list are therefore baseless, speculative, frivolous and untrue at this point.
The report in itself has the word “allege” – suggesting that there is not enough evidence in them to indict Pantami in thei shadow and unfounded allegations.
Nigerians are living witnesses to testify on what Dr Pantami, the Honourable Minister, is doing. He realigned the Ministry and its work schedule, encouraged mutual support and shared goals, cooperation and provided workplace synergy among its Parastatals.
Dr Pantami has become steering wheel in leading Federal Government of Nigeria on strategic implementation of programmes aimed at diversifying the economy. Oil and gas can no longer be dependent upon because countries around the world, especially the developed ones, are switching to digitalization in almost all their means of activities, including transportation.
Dr Pantami’s unprecedented achievements in ensuring that Nigeria lifts itself to reach the required level in the Global Information Technology Development Index can never be overemphasized. He is leading a rescue mission of Nigeria’s migration from natural resource economy to ICT-based economy. As true Nigerians, it is our collective responsibility to boycott any medium trying to distract the Minister; we must not let that happen.
I am very proud of him that he ended his rejoinder with: “On the issue of NIN-SIM Verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back. Our priority as government based on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2)b is security, not just economy. For sure, no going back at all. Let’s the sponsors continue FYI all, by the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop Dr Isa Pantami from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on security. FINALLY: If you are yet to verify your SIM using NIN, do it very soon, b4 our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat.” This shows the no nonsense person he is.