Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has said allegations that he has links to extremists are lies.
Pantami stated this in an exclusive interview on Friday, April 16.
According to him, the allegations were being spread by people who are unhappy that the government is linking National Identification Number (NIN) with telephone SIMs.
He said: “I have no doubt about this. It has to do with the National Identification Number. Do you know one thing? This policy was started in 2011, it was not successful. Why? It was fought.’’
Pantami said some forces are determined to stop the policy of compulsory national identity registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country.
“In 2015, it came up, it was not successful. In 2018 there was a time that there were meetings between government and mobile network operators. And it was actually announced that by the agreement with the government, the deadline was January 2018. It is there online, I will share it with you if you like. By January 2018, it was not implemented, because there are forces against it. There are forces!,” Pantami explained.
According to Pantami, NIN registration is not only meant for Nigerians but it could be obtained by anybody in Nigeria.
He said: “Now they have started coming with the news that people are coming from neighbouring countries to register.
“What they fail to understand is that the National Identification Number is not only for Nigerians; anybody in Nigeria can obtain it. The minister stated that he would not allow the attacks on him to distract him from his job.”
Meanwhile, some Nigerians have called on Pantami to step down from office after reports alleged that his Islamic preachings across northern parts of the country between the early and mid-2000s were extreme.
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