A former lecturer of Industrial Chemistry at the Kaduna State University, Professor Samuel Achi, has narrated how his son, Sunday Achi, was strangled at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University mosque in Bauchi State.
The 67-year-old don also said he was aware that Nigeria’s current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, was the Chief Imam of the university’s mosque when the incident happened on December 9, 2004.
In an interview with Punch, Samuel said 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.
The father said the late Sunday was the leader of the students’ fellowship of the Evangelical Church Winning All Ministry. He said the tracts shared by his late son did not contain any blasphemous content but the Pantami-led Muslim community at the university pronounced a ‘fatwa’ on his son.
He said 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 academic, who said he had forgiven all those involved in the sadistic killing of his son, but 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.”
When asked specifically if he was aware that Pantami was the Chief Imam at the ATBU mosque at the time, the sexagenarian, who sounded slightly still heartbroken and not ready to reopen the memories, said, “Of course yes, it is all over the place, I don’t want to go back on that. We are not surprised to hear news out of it. We have actually forgiven everybody involved in his killing,” he added.
Pantami’s aide, Uwa Suleiman, refuted the claim when asked for comment.
Pantami has come under fire over his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami says he has renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the sacking of the minister.
Meanwhile, a former Assistant Director with the Department of State Services, Dennis Amachree, has said the secret police screened the embattled communications minister before his confirmation as minister in 2019.
He, however, said the minister must have sailed through DSS and Senate screenings due to a lot of factors including federal character balancing.
Pantami, a former director-general with the National Information Technology Development Agency, is the only member of the Federal Executive Council from Gombe State.