There has been confusion and fear in the land at the weekend following an allegation that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Alhaji Isa Ali Ibrahim, also known as Sheikh Pantami, has fallen on the watch list of America’s Intelligence Service.
Ibrahim, also the Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme Sharia Council in Nigeria and a former student of Salafist ideologies, was trained in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with other top Islamic jihadists.
Before his appointment as a minister, Ibrahim was a known Islamic preacher and held what was termed ‘dangerous views’ against the American government with allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
According to a report, the minister was said to be a very close confidant of the late Mohammed Yusuf, the killed leader of Boko Haram with whom he allegedly shared jihadist doctrines.
According to Western Intelligence, the minister had ties with Abu Quatada al Falasimi and other Al-Qaeda leaders that he revered and spoke glowingly of in several of his videos on YouTube.
In one of his narratives, Ibrahim had eulogised Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi as a great leader, who joined Al-Qaeda group after emigrating to Afghanistan at the end of the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Centre in America.
This is what he wrote about Abu Musab: “Under the Osama’s leadership, he became the unit commander of army of AlQaeda with the support of the Commander of the loyal Maula Umar (Taliban leader).
“It was after the September 11 attack that he suffered serious leg injury and was taken to Iraq for treatment where he spent a long time recovering.”
Ibrahim wrote: “When Iraq was attacked by the enemies of God, this great man joined in the fight leading his group against the US military and its allies in Iraq.”
According to Middle Eastern Intelligence, corroborated by its Western counterparts, photographs of Sheikh Isa Ali Pantanmi and his jihadist allies are trending.
Efforts to get the reactions of the minister to the critical allegations were futile as at press time.
However, one of his aides (names withheld) said the allegations were false.
The aide, who was very combative while speaking with Sunday Independent, was angry that the story would be published.
“You didn’t tell me you want to publish the story when you introduced yourself. In the first place, you did not address the Office of the Honourable Minister properly.
“This is a personal attack on somebody’s personal belief and religion.
“This allegation is not coming from the American government, but one useless organisation. I am a journalist myself,” said the aide.