The calls for Nigeria’s minister of communication and digital economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami to resign over his past extreme religious views continued on Sunday.
Forty-eight-year-old Pantami, for the first time, on Saturday acknowledged his past views but said he has since renounced those radical comments, Daily Trust reported.
The minister blamed his past radical leanings on age, immaturity and limited knowledge.
“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,” Daily Trust quoted Pantami as saying during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja.
“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 international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”
His renunciation notwithstanding, more people on social media joined the call for him to resign. His critics said the views he expressed as a university student cannot be blamed on age.
“This is not about age. I was once a teenager too – and I never supported killing people of different religions or beliefs,” a Nigerian lawyer and activist Ayo Sogunro tweeted on Sunday morning.Sogunro said if Pantami “truly wants to make up for his past,” he should resign and “continue the work of engaging and de-radicalising young jihadis, not handle national affairs.” (Guardian)