The Presidency, has on Friday, backed its statement supporting the embattled Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, .
Recall, that the Presidency had earlier defended Dr. Pantami, on Thursday, accusing the Minister’s enemies and some Information and Communications Technology, ICT, companies of being behind the “smear campaign” against him.
Speaking during a Channels Television programme, Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, compared the certificate forgery case of a former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, under the President Muhammadu Buhari government, to the earlier support for terror groups expressed by Dr. Pantami.
Asked why the Presidency let Adeosun go, but was quick to defend Dr. Pantami, Shehu noted that the certificate forgery by Adeosun was more of a crime, than the past extremist views of Dr. Pantami.
He stated that President Buhari’s response “would have been different”, if Dr. Pantami had forged his certificate as Adeosun did.
Shehu said that Dr. Pantami’s case only involved people probing his thoughts during the said lectures.
His exact words: “In the second case which is that of Pantami, you are probing the thoughts, what is called ‘McCarthyism’; you search the inner recesses of the minds of individuals, bring out things they have said, or they are about to say, or you think they would say, and use that against them.
“If Pantami had forged certificate before coming into Office, the attitude would have been different.
“We do not remain in the same position. Do not assume that things cannot change. If the one who created you gives it to you that from being bad, you can become good, what says you should deny some other persons this right?”
Shehu dismissed claims that the Presidency’s support for Dr. Pantami, suggests how the current administration tolerates violent religious extremism.
He said that instead, those making such claims are “the problems of the society”, for their unwillingness to forgive Pantami.
“Those people who stand in criticism of a man who has said he had wronged and society, he has apologised and changed, and they are not willing to forgive him to move on, they are the ones who are the problem. They are the ones who are deeply intolerant”, he said.