The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration might be termed a sympathiser of the Al-Queada and Taliban should he refuse to sack his Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali-Pantami.
A statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director Zainab Yusuf, urged Buhari to dismiss Pantami for his affinity and endorsement of global jihadist movement.
The statement reads: “It is in the interest of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to clear suspicions that it is a sympathiser of international terrorism by sacking Pantami who has admitted espousing the teachings of Al- Queada and Taliban previously.”
According to HURIWA, Buhari would be sued to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he refuses to do the right thing. It said patriotic groups could canvass claims that the mass killings of Christians in the North by armed herdsmen and Islamists were tolerated by the President because of his decision to keep a man who had confessed to have backed Al- Queada and Taliban.
It appealed to members of the Civil Rights Advocacy movements in Nigeria to send petitions to the United States Congress to designate President Buhari’s administration as a sympathiser of AlQaeda and Taliban, and then impose specific sanctions on the president and his ministers.
The group insisted that the only way Nigerians can heave a sigh of relief is for Pantami to be dismissed from office.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has asked Pantami to resign immediately.
A statement yesterday by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, said the governor spoke in an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT) in Port Harcourt.
Wike said Pantami ought to have resigned from his position immediately information about his extremist views became a matter of public discourse.
He described as worrisome the government’s decision to remain mute as worrisome.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government would allow such a person be in the cabinet,” he added.
According to the governor, the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government is known for its proclivity to shield persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
A trending comment made by Pantami on his social media page has sparked fresh outrage.
Pantami was reacting to a letter by Convener of ‘Concerned Nigerians’, Deji Adeyanju, which said Pantami ‘should not hold a sensitive position and be in charge of the database of Nigerians’.
Reacting to the post with his verified Facebook page, Pantami wrote in Hausa ‘Allah ya tsine masa alubarika’, which translates ‘May Allah rebuke his blessings’.
The now-deleted comment gathered over 400 replies. It was interpreted as ‘extreme’ and ‘dangerous’.
But in a quick rejoinder, Pantami’s Facebook handler said the minister’s account was hacked.
It said: “This account was hacked. Just recovered it. It is not being managed by Dr Isa Ali Pantami, but by some youth. Disregard any request, comment or message from it. Thanks! Management”.
A lawyer, Abdul Mahmud, said: “Pantami is too dangerous to be allowed a day longer as a Minister. Did he place a fatwa on Deji Adeyanju? It’s a curse and asking God to curse Deji. Translate for yourself.
Fakhuus Hashim said: “Really disgraceful how Pantami is holding tightly to power even when there is a large consensus on distrusting him in public office. There isn’t honour with Nigerian politicians. True men of God aren’t power thirsty.”
Dr. Ayo Sogunro said: “These are the kind of tweets Pantami supporters are confidently putting out. As long as Pantami remains in office, then the @MBuhari govt is telling the world that religious extremism is welcome in Nigeria.”
Sodiq Tade said: “Personally, I don’t think Pantami is ready to change his ways. He is doing all the ‘renouncement’ to save his office. He is still on the other app cursing those who called him out. That he is yet to be sacked is unfair to the soldiers fighting terrorism day and night.”
@Mazigburugburu1 tweeted: “What have we learnt in this whole Pantami issue? Identify your niche, your people, your core and ride or die with them even if heavens may fall. That’s the Nigeria Buhari has built. Sadly, Kemi Adeosun was ‘needlessly’ sacrificed. Never again we say.”
Mahmud Galadanci said: “If a minister of communications verified Facebook account can be hacked, then whose personal data is safe in this country, including Buhari? This clearly tells us we are in the wrong hands. Our data is totally unsafe. And I see no reason to agree with this Pantami on this.”