Nigeria’s prominent Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, says the nation will regret it if Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, is removed from office.

Many Nigerians and groups have been asking President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Pantami after videos from the 2000s resurfaced wherein the minister was seen supporting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Pantami has, however, recanted his past views on the terror groups, saying his position at the time was based on his understanding as a teenager.

In an interview with Roots TV on Monday, Gumi said the allegations against the minister are unfounded and should be discarded.

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“You cannot Islamise the whole world. Jesus Christ came; he could not Christianise the whole world. Nobody can Islamise or Christianise Nigeria,” Gumi said.

“All his actions, one hundred percent, shows he is not a terrorist. Those who are terrorists are after his life. The minister should continue. His presence there is fighting the terrorist ideology.

“Show me one person he has killed. He has not killed anybody. He has not ordered the killing of anybody. Discard the fake news. The man is stabilising a government among a section of youths, which we want them to come and join in nation-building. They should not throw him away. Leave him. He is not a terrorist sympathiser.

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“And you people are fighting them. No. You should get more people like Pantami and put them in power. It will stabilise. Don’t remove him. You’ll regret.”

The presidency has also defended Pantami, alleging that information and communications technology (ICT) companies are the ones behind calls for the minister’s removal.

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