Divergent views have continued to trail the action of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to renounce his previous support for extremist groups.
On Tuesday, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in a TV interview joined calls for the minister to resign.
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The governor noted that in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America has placed a serving minister on its watch list as regards to terrorism should jolt any government into action.
“If it was really where a government is working, if an American government says your minister is on a watch list, it calls for concern for you to say look there is a problem. The moment a high government official is on a watch list as to regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it,” he said.
Governor Wike said the minister ought to have resigned from the government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet,” he said.
Calls for Pantami’s resignation a funded programme – CSO
Also on Tuesday, the Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance called the rising calls against Pantami a well-funded programme by highly placed individuals to heighten insecurity in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, 20th April 2021, the coordinator of the Coalition, which is an amalgamation of various Civil Society organisations, Comrade Declan Ihekaire, said it is alarmed by the sustained campaign against Pantami.
The coalition described Pantami as a principled, innovative and a key member of the team of the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ihekaire said: “We dare say that Dr. Isa Pantami’s sincere admission of once holding views, which were supposedly in support of some radical groups, during his growing up years is an unusual display of sincerity, patriotism and we see this, as a welcomed step.”
Investigate the allegation – CAN
Also speaking on Tuesday, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle, urged relevant security agencies to investigate the allegation against the minister of communications and digital economy.
Reverend Ayokunle, who is also the President of Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) was responding to a question during a press conference on the 108th convention in session of the church, which will hold from April 24 to 29 at the 37,000- seater auditorium Baptist International Conference Centre, BICC along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Campaign of calumny will fail – Muslim students
While reacting, the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Gombe State Area Unit, has said that the campaign of calumny being carried out by fifth columnists and political jobbers against the minister will fail.
In a statement jointly signed by Bilyaminu Abdullahi and Auwal Yahya Adamu, Amir and Secretary of Gombe Area Unit respectively, the MSSN said the minister is not an obscure person whose background is not known.
“The desperation of those behind the lies blindfolded them to the extent that they were ready to use anything they came about in order to launch their attack against him. Unfortunately for them, the very materials they used for their venomous attack on the Hon. Minister is the very materials that cleared his name.
“His attackers were too hasty to understand and verify the content and context of the materials. They just described him as having a friendly chat with the late Muhammad Yusuf in one of the audio/video clips,” the MSSN said.
From Abiodun Alade, Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Abbas Jimoh (Abuja), & Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt)