A former lecturer at the Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Prof. Samuel Achi, says the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, was the Chief Imam of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University mosque when his son was killed on December 9, 2004.
He told The PUNCH newspaper in an interview that his son, Sunday, a 400-level student of Architecture at ATBU at the time, was strangled by Muslim students for allegedly circulating a tract that contained blasphemous content.
The 67-year-old former lecturer of Industrial Chemistry at KADSU told The PUNCH on Wednesday that his then 24-year-old son was the leader of the students’ fellowship of the Evangelical Church Winning All Ministry.
Achi said the tracts shared by his late son did not contain any blasphemous content, but the Pantami-led Muslim community at the university pronounced a “fatwa” on him.
He said: “The incident happened in the early hours of the 9th of December (2004). It was from the night of December 8 to the early hours of December 9 that it happened.
“From the fact that I had; from clear indications; from the confirmed information that I had, he was not stoned. He was actually strangled inside the mosque. His body was discovered outside the university mosque.”
He said his son was killed and his body was thrown off the ATBU mosque.
Achi said he was able to retrieve the remains of his son with the help of the then Governors of Kaduna and Bauchi States.
He, however, said he has forgiven all those involved in the killing of his son, but noted that if Pantami, who was then the Chief Imam of the mosque, had been a man of peace, his son would not have been killed.
He said: “As a Christian, my belief is that even though they killed him by pronouncing ‘fatwa’ against him, he was doing God’s work. God has comforted us and we have been able to forgive everybody that did that terrible act.
“Of course, we have no control over it but the blood of my son would always hunt whoever has a hand in killing him.”
A top official of ATBU who declined to be named also confirmed to the newspaper that Sunday was indeed killed in December 2004 when Pantami was the Chief Imam of the university mosque.
“We lost a student called Sunday Achi in 2004 when Pantami was the Chief Imam. Pantami was a student but was later retained in the school,” he said.
However, when contacted, Pantami’s aide, Uwa Suleiman, said the claim by Samuel was not true, but declined further comments on the matter.
Pantami has come under fire over his past speeches and teachings that showed his sympathy and support for terrorist groups, including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Several people have called for the resignation or sack of the Minister.
Lately, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, said no responsible government would retain Pantami in its cabinet, and called for his sack.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Pantami if he fails to voluntarily resign.
Nigerians have also expressed worry over a man with such ideology overseeing the data of Nigerians, especially with the ongoing National Identification Number and Subscriber Identity Module integration exercise under his watch.
A hashtag, #PantamiResignNow, has since been trending online.