The Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, Isa Pantami, has denied having ties with terrorists groups.
To buttress his claim of not having extremist views, Pantami said his personal driver, secretary and technical assistant are all Christians.
He said this following reports that he’s an extremist who once said he enjoys it when unbelievers are killed.
The Minister told Peoples Gazette, “My personal driver is Mai Keffi, a practising Christian,” Mr Pantami told The Gazette by telephone.
“I also have a Christian, Ms Nwosu, as my secretary and Dr Femi, also a Christian, as my technical adviser.”
“If I did not like Christians or I did not see them as my brothers and sisters, I would not have been working with them for so long,” the minister said. “I employed more Christians than Muslims on my staff because I believe in merit and competence over ethnic or tribal sentiments.”
“I have never condoned terrorism and I reject any affiliation to terror groups,” the minister added.
“I have long preached peaceful coexistence amongst people of every faith and ethnicity.”
“I have always preached peace and tolerance,” the minister said.
“In some cases, I was attacked by my fellow Muslims for supporting my Christian brothers and sisters.”
Mr Pantami said Italian authors of the academic paper that chronicled his Salafi teachings as a bulwark of radical views amongst university students in the North had misrepresented him by failing to reach out to him before concluding the papers.
“They did their research but failed to contact me and sit down with me for an interview before publishing their papers,” Mr Pantami said. “It is possible they used a translator that did not understand Hausa or just did not like me.”