US to Do ‘Deeper Dive’ into Pantami’s Background, Says Ex-DSS Executive
The United States has been gathering information on Nigeria’s communication and digital economy minister, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
Former assistant director with the Department of State Services (DSS), Dennis Amachree, explained on an online interview programme, The Roundtable, on Wednesday that “He (Pantami) has just submitted his name into US database. The cataloguing of people is not automatic, it comes in drips and drops.
“Now, people are talking about him and that has 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 will place him on a no-fly zone.”
He equally unravelled that the DSS informed the federal government and the National Assembly of the past radical pro-terrorist views of the minister before his confirmation as minister in 2019.
According to him, the minister may have been confirmed by the National Assembly for some political reasons, including federal character balancing.
“During the vetting process for anybody to be appointed a minister or commissioner or anything, your name is sent to the DSS for vetting. They check your background up to the extent of your grandmother.
’They check your schools up to the extent of your primary school. And of course, they keep a tab on you online and offline. We get a lot from open source intelligence and I can tell you that in Pantami’s case, we have it.
“But there is a political angle to it. When somebody is being appointed, if the security agencies see that there is something wrong with his name, they will send it to the appointing agency. ‘
He added that “There is no information that escapes the DSS, we have all of it, all. When I was working there, we keep a catalogue of anybody of interest that comes up to limelight in this country.