As Nigerians continue to press for the sacking of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami for alleged Islamic extremism, a former university professor has revealed how his son was strangled to death in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University mosque, where the minister was then the Chief Imam, few days to Christmas in 2004 for alleged blasphemy.
Prof. Samuel Achi, a former lecturer at the Kaduna State University, Kaduna told the Punch on Wednesday that Sunday, his 24-year-old son and 400-level student of Architecture at the ATBU at the time, was murdered by Muslim students over allegation that he circulated a tract that contained blasphemous content.
He said his killed son was the leader of the students’ fellowship of the Evangelical Church Winning All Ministry, but that the tracts he shared did not contain any blasphemous content. Nevertheless, the Pantami-led Muslim community at the university pronounced a ‘fatwa’ on his son, he rued.
According to him, the Muslim students killed his son and threw his body off ATBU mosque, adding that he was able to retrieve the remains of Sunday with the intervention of the then governors of Kaduna and Bauchi states.
The father of the late student 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.”
The academic, who said he had forgiven all those involved in the sadistic killing of his son, however, stressed that were Pantami, who was the then chief imam of the mosque a man of peace, the killing of his son would not have occurred.
“As a Christian, my belief is that even though they killed him by pronouncing fatwa against him, he was doing God’s work, so, I don’t think we have to worry about it. 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.”
Could that be hunting the honourable minister now? The United States recently placed him on a watch list over his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
But Mr. Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been relentless in the call for the sacking of the minister.
A top official of ATBU confirmed to the newspaper that Sunday Achi was killed in December 2004 when Pantami was the Chief Imam of the school.
However, when contacted, Pantami’s aide, Uwa Suleiman, said that the claim by Prof. Achi was not true, but declined further comments on the matter.
The minister’s aide said, “The allegations are not true. Do your research but the allegations are not true.”