The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Saturday withdrew his past controversial comments on Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and other groups, saying the remarks were made at a young age.
Pantami, who fielded questions from Muslim faithful during a Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja, said he is now matured and knows better.
The minister said: “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled 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.
READ ALSO: Pantami’s lawyers speak on lawsuit against newspaper over reports of terror links
“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 of the international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”
The forum was the latest of the coordinated image laundering efforts by Pantami who has been under increasing pressure from Nigerians to leave the government over the controversial remarks.
Recent media campaign by the minister and his team has failed to save him from the critical scrutiny he is receiving now over his alleged sympathies for domestic and international terrorists.
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