Isa Pantami

SINCE the scandal involving the former open support of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, for some global terrorist groups erupted about a fortnight ago, the Federal Government has remained silent.

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, the Presidency, which had previously refused to comment on the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar’s, display of public nuisance and physical assault on a parking lot attendant, finally spoke out in Pantami’s support.

Buhari’s administration described the calls for Pantami’s resignation or sacking as a “manufactured dispute,” saying it had “nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words, but solely concern his actions in the present,” in a statement signed by the President’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

In other words, some unnamed communications industry interests were behind the push to “cancel” Pantami’s role in implementing Buhari’s critical policies.

The statement focused heavily on what the Presidency saw as Pantami’s “achievements,” completely ignoring the real issue, which is that he is seen as a supporter of global terrorism in the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Indeed, Nigerians had questioned the logic behind Pantami’s inhuman implementation of the National Identification Number, NIN, which forced hapless Nigerians to flee at the height of the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave.

The Presidency needs to know that Nigerians want Pantami’s fired because he has openly expressed his love and admiration for global terrorist networks on several occasions as a full-fledged adult Islamic preacher. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are among them.

When the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi died in Iraq, he sent an emotional condolence message. Zarqawi, a former Al Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan, murdered thousands in Iraq, Syria, and his home country of Jordan.

When he was killed, his disciple, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, later founded the Islamic State, which, following their defeat in the Levant, has become the main driver of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North East.

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These connections are concerning for a Minister in charge of our country’s data and ICT. Nigerians are unsure what Pantami and his associates intend to do with this vital national asset. His claim of “repentance” falls flat because, as Shakespeare says in Macbeth, “there is no art to find the mind’s construction on the face.” Pantami, as a preacher, had issued a “fatwa” to the people.

As Minister, he dispatched security personnel to apprehend Abike Dabiri’s staff at a Federal Government facility in Abuja. He is not qualified to be our minister. Pantami’s defense by the Presidency is unacceptable. He has to leave.

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