A former assistant director in the Department of State Services (DSS) Dennis Amachree says the secret police advised the Nigerian government and the National Assembly of the previous extremist viewpoints of the ministry of communications and electronic market, Isa Pantami, prior to his confirmation as a minister in 2019.
Mr Amachree said on Wednesday that the National Assembly went on to affirm Pantami, a Gombe State indigene, as minister due to plenty of factors including national character balancing.
“We’re happy if unbelievers are murdered,” Pantami formerly said as an Islamic scholar and cleric.
He also hailed Osama Bin Laden, who orchestrated the terrorist attacks on United States soil on September 11, 2001, stating the terrorist” is a better Muslim than myself.”
The DSS has advice on all individuals of interest, including that the minister’s previous extremist views were hauled to the Federal Government and the legislature.
“There is not any advice that escapes the DSS, we’ve got it all, all. When I had been working there, we keep a catalogue of anybody of interest that comes up to the limelight in this country,” he said.
“During the vetting process for anybody to be appointed a minister or commissioner or whatever, your title is delivered to the State Security Service (SSS) for vetting. They check your background up to the extent of your grandma. They check your schools up to the extent of your main school. And needless to say, they keep a tab on you offline and online. We receive a lot from open-source intelligence and that I can tell you in Pantami’s situation, we have it.
“But there is a political angle to it. When somebody has been appointed, if the security agencies see there is something wrong with his title, they will send it to the appointing agency. The appointing agency will now decide amongst other factors religious variable, national character balancing variable, or political variable and say that ‘Oh, yes, we understand that this guy has this and that but let’s punish him.’
“So, the governmental decision isn’t accepted by the SSS. Even when you go to the Senate for confirmation, there’s a celebration by party and you can observe there are some political candidates that the opposition party will state this one will not be appointed but since he belongs to this party, they will appoint him. So, these are political and national balancing where they will say there is nobody from this place that has been appointed, so let’s punish him.”
Amachree also claimed the US was collecting information on Pantami.
The cataloguing of people is not automatic, it comes in drips and drops,” he explained.
“Today, people are referring to him and that’s come to the attention of the United States Embassy in Nigeria already. Now, they will do a deeper dive into his background. They will catalogue him and now they will start watching him and if it comes to a very critical level, they’ll put him in a no-fly zone.”