Isa Pantami: Tech Man as Terror Target – SS Analysis
Recent video of BH leader,Abubakar Shekau threatening Communication Minister ,Isa Pantami has opened up a deep gulf between moderates Islamic scholars and extremists of the classical salafi school of Islam. A major figure at the Centre of it all is Pantami,a Saudi tested scholar ,highly educated professional and deeply entrenched Islamist who is widely reputed to be a moderate in opposition to violent extremist interpretation of Islam.
As a Communication minister ,his idea of building a terrorism free nation is that of advanced application of technology.Even though he is not in charge of security or defence ,Pantami’s policy line indicates a deep sense of intelligence and counter terror.More than anybody in the Buhari government,his ideas appear to strike at the heart of increasing insecurity in the country.
It is therefore not surprising that the Bomo Haram leader mentioned him three times in his recent video,threatening the minister and making a veiled allusion to the assassination of Sheikh Jaffar ,the popular Kano preacher who was gunned down years ago. Pantami also once had an encounter with late Muhammed Yususf whose extra judicial killings ignited the Boko Haram insurgency a decade ago.
But what has Isa Pantami being doing that warrant being listed prominently as an terror target?
1. The delisting of all unregistered SIMs: This unveiled the veiled holders of phone numbers,destroy anonymity and Validate the database of telecom users.
2. New policy of telecom users not owning more than three phone lines.
3. New policy demanding users give reasons for wanting new lines.
4. New policy demanding a link among bank BVN,National identity number and telephone numbers;
5.New policy of security surveillance to ensure lawful use of telecoms facilities.
6. New sanctions on telecom operators breaching such sensitive policy measures.
7.Cleaning up the telecoms space by aggregating data base of Operators and stakeholders.
8 Open call for application of technologies as major component of the anti- terror war.
9. A strong push for data policy,cryptocurrency governance to curb terror financing.
10. A proposal for drone warfare in both intelligence gathering and even actual combat.
The interesting thing is that Pantami’s proposals are far reaching and possess the potentials to change the dynamic of the terror war. The minister who is also an Islamic preacher is placed in a position of prescribing prescription capable of decapitating extremists and purveyors of terror.
The challenge now is for the minister not to chicken out . While some of his policy measures are already in place ,some are yet to take off. His reaction which many will be watching closely is to forge ahead with requisite approvals.
As things stand in the Anti-Terror war,only a paradigm shift combining ultra tech application strategies and a new eastern model anti- terror tactics can defeat the insurgents .
The National Security Council should co-opt Pantami at its next meeting. He is a scholar of the religion whose ideology is twisted to justify terror. So he is a powerful enlightenment channel to wean many out of the extremist path. He is a communication Minister with in depth applicability knowledge of ICT in assuring,maintaining and securing national security.g