The Presidency’s statement, on Thursday, in support of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, despite calls by Nigerians for his resignation or sack, over his past controversial statements in support of terrorist groups, has sparked new outrage,
Recall, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement titled: ‘Statement by the Presidency on recent campaign against the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy’, explained that Dr. Pantami was young when he made those statements, arguing that his position had since changed.
The Presidency defended the Minister, stressing that he made enemies, because he tried to put Nigeria first, and had initiated plans and policies that would profit the public.
Before now, some concerned Nigerians and groups had been asking President Buhari to sack Dr. Pantami, after videos from the 2000s resurfaced where the Minister was seen supporting al-qaeda and the taliban, as well as expressing Islamic extreme views.
Declaring its support for Dr. Pantami, the Presidency described his current travail as an orchestrated attempt to “cancel” him.
However, many Nigerians continue to insist on Dr. Pantami’s sack or resignation, despite the Presidential explanation.
Social Commentator, Wale Adetona, said: “We are aware of all the reports and claims about Pantami, but there’s nothing we would do about it! If Shekau comes pleading tomorrow too, we will give him a ticket to run for Presidency. That’s the summary of Garba Sheu’s tweet.”
“Am I disappointed at the statement of the Presidency on Pantami? NO. It was expected. Leadership of our country has been hijacked by a narrow and sectarian cabal with feudal agenda. Did the Presidency expect the reactions witnessed here? No. Una shock am”, a Lawyer, Abdul Mahmud, said.
Malachy Odo noted: “Going by the position of the Nigerian government on Pantami, I am sure that over 90 percent of Prison inmates in this country regret whatever it is they did that took them there and have also renounced them. Why are they still being detained? Why is Rev. King still in prison?”
Fisayo Soyombo argued: “The Presidency was gifted a landmark opportunity to proclaim its aversion to terror. Instead, it released a statement ‘standing by’ Pantami.
“This is tacit endorsement of terrorism. The govt is emboldening people to go ahead & spew hate, & return years later to a pat on the back.”
Freelance Journalist, David Hundeyin, said: “Your government has released an official statement saying that Isa Pantami has “apologised” for being a terror apologist, and therefore, it “stands behind” him. I have no words.”
Editi Effiòng tweeted: “The reason I stood and watched this entire Pantami scandal is because I know the Buhari government is beyond redemption.
“If government that has no qualms killing unarmed protesters, what’s the big deal about a Minister who supports terrorism.”