Samuel Achi, a former lecturer at the Kaduna State University, Kaduna, explains to KAYODE OYERO how his son, Sunday, was killed at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University mosque in Bauchi State when the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, was the Chief Imam of the university’s mosque.
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.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, 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 father of the late student said, “The incident happened in the early hours of the 9th of December (2004). It was from the night of December 8 to the early hours of December 9 that it happened. From the fact that I had; from clear indications; from the confirmed information that I had, he was not stoned. He was actually strangled inside the mosque. His body was discovered outside the university mosque.”
The academic, who said he had forgiven all those involved in the sadistic killing of his son, 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.
The don told The PUNCH, “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.
A top official of ATBU also told The PUNCH that Sunday was killed in December 2004 when Pantami was the Chief Imam of the school.
The official, who craved anonymity, said, “We lost a student called Sunday Achi in 2004 when Pantami was the Chief Imam. Pantami was a student but was later retained in the school.”
However, when contacted, Pantami’s aide, Uwa Suleiman, told The PUNCH that the claim by Samuel was not true. She declined further comments on the matter.
The minister’s aide said, “The allegations are not true. Do your research but the allegations are not true.”
Pantami has come under fire over his past controversial comments on terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami had since 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.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party has also called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to fire Pantami if he fails to voluntarily resign like ex-finance minister, Kemi Adeosun. The PDP also wants the Department of State Services to probe the communications minister.
The Nigerian Twitter community also said Pantami could not be trusted with the data of Nigerians, especially with the ongoing National Identification Number and Subscriber Identity Module integration exercise under his watch.
The hashtag, #PantamiResignNow, has since been trending online for days.