The President Buhari led administration has declared support for the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, amidst allegations that he is an extremist.
Reports had last week said Pantami had been placed on the watchlist of the United States of America over alleged link with the leadership of terrorist group operating in the North East, Boko Haram.
According to the report, Pantami had ties with Abu Quatada al Falasimi and other Al-Qaeda leaders whom he revered and spoke highly of
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a recent statement titled ‘Statement by the Presidency on recent campaign against the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,” revealed the stance of the government on the matter.
The statement read,
“Today, there is an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.
“This insidious phenomenon seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it.
“The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is, currently, subject to a ‘cancel campaign’ instigated by those who seek his removal.
“They do not really care what he may or may not have said some 20 years ago: that is merely the instrument they are using to attempt to ‘cancel’ him. But they will profit should he be stopped from making decisions that improve the lives of everyday Nigerians.
“The Minister has, rightly, apologised for what he said in the early 2000s. The views were absolutely unacceptable then, and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them. But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong.
“In the 2000s, the Minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.
“But all discerning Nigerians know this manufactured dispute is nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words, but solely concern his actions in the present.
“The administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services.”