The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami, said he regretted some controversial comments he made supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban, saying he was a teenager when he made such utterances.
Pantami has come under fire as video of his utterances supporting Boko Haram and other terrorist groups hit social media,
But the minister, while answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Al Nur Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, said for 15 years, he had moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism.
He said he had travelled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano States and Diffa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
Daily Trust quoted Pantami as saying that “I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.”
The minister added that some of the comments he made some years ago that were generating controversies now were based on his understanding of religious issues at the time, and that he had changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
According to him, he was was young when he made some of the comments; as he was in university, and that some of the comments were made when he was a teenager.
The minister said he started preaching when he was 13 and that many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, adding that some have come to change their positions later.