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'You're All The Same'—Nigerians React As First Lady, Aisha Buhari Taunts 'Weeping' Terror-linked Minister, Pantami

September 13, 2021

Aisha in an Instagram post on Sunday shared a video showing Pantami, an Islamic cleric shedding tears during one of his sermons.

Nigerians on social media have reacted to a video posted by the country's First Lady, Aisha Buhari taunting the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

Aisha in an Instagram post on Sunday shared a video showing Pantami, an Islamic cleric shedding tears during one of his sermons.


“A chire tsoro a yi abinda ya dace (Be courageous to do the right thing), ” the First Lady captioned the video in Hausa.

In the video, Pantami burst into tears after his reciter read a verse of the Holy Quran.

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“That is the Garden we shall give as their own to those of Our servants who were devout,” read the reciter from Surah Maryam, Verse 63.

In response, Pantami sobbed, “O Allah! Make me one of them. O Allah! Make me one of them!”

Reactions from social media users have trailed the video as many stated that the First Lady was simply being hypocritical. 

Others stated that the caption written by the First Lady is a confirmation of the allegations that Pantami had connection with terrorists.

Some queried the inherent message in the caption written by the First Lady, urging her to be more vocal on what she wants the Minister to do.  

Below are some of the reactions from Twitter, a popular microblogging platform: 

Meanwhile, Facebook user, Mrz Moore noted: “Hypocrisy, the north is quiet now, they will soon reap what they sow." 

Another user, Alexander Oketa said: "Remove Pantami now pls. He's destroying the image of our party and great country."

Bright Aigbokhae wrote: “I'm sure the US has released sponsors. If you know, you know. Nigerians are quiet. Our country is gradually fading away.”

Alabama Yemight stated: “Hahahaha our first lady, she has spoken several times in parable and action but no one answered her. She has come with a bomb again.”

Adeniyi Adedeji wrote: “Evil people everywhere! This is the same way suicide bombers behave.”

Pantami’s past call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda portray him as a dyed-in-the-wool Islamic fundamentalist. 

Yet, Buhari appointed him as communications minister to control the country’s massive data and telephone infrastructure and other sensitive details of national intelligence. “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Pantami was quoted as saying in one of his vicious preaching in the 2000s.

“Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” he was quoted to have also said.

In other audio clips that surfaced online, Pantami was also heard as sympathetic to Boko Haram members when delivering sermons at several worship centres in the 2000s.

However, Pantami claimed he had renounced his radical comments and said his views had changed over time. He said he had in the past 15 years been traversing the country to preach against terrorism.

Despite the Minister’s claim, most Nigerians said the minister ought to have resigned due to public backlash and be investigated by the authorities. Should he fail to resign, some commentators said he ought to be sacked by the President.

But the Presidency, showing support for Pantami, dismissed the possibility of sacking the controversial Minister because he had allegedly apologised for his radical views.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement also berated Nigerians for being too harsh on the Pantami and other Buhari’s appointees.

“The views were absolutely unacceptable then, and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them. But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong,” Shehu had said.