The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, on Monday, said criminals across the country are “feeling the heat” of the ongoing linking of National Identification Numbers (NIN) with Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM).
He made the comment while reacting to the retraction of a story published by an online news site. The story had purportedly linked the Minister to Boko Haram.
“On the issue of NIN-SIM Verification to fight insecurity, there is no going back,” he said. “Our priority as government based institution on the provision of our constitution 1999 (as amended) Section 14(2)b is SECURITY, not just economy.
“For sure, no going back at all. Let the sponsors continue.
“If you are yet to verify your SIM using NIN, do it very soon, before our next action. Criminals are feeling the heat.”
Hours earlier a story had circulated that Pantami was on a US watchlist as a result of links to terrorism activities.
“My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria,” Pantami said, apparently referring to a video in which he appeared alongside Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf.
“If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.”
Pantami has vowed to sue the publishers of the story.
“Major publishers will meet my lawyers in the court on this defamation of character,” he said.
Presidential spokesman, Bashir Ahmad, also condemned the report which he described as “fake” and “a false and dangerous narrative.”
“Dr. Pantami has never been on any US watchlist,” Mr. Bashir said.