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Garba on Pantami: Apologia not exoneration


Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami PHOTO: Twitter

Both Pantami and Garba Shehu audaciously tried unsuccessfully to convince Nigerians that the passage of time should excuse the minister from being suspended or removed from office because he was young when he committed the confessed treasonable felony pursuant to Section 41 of the Criminal Code.

Besides, pursuant to Section 43 of the Criminal Code, he is foreclosed from prosecution of a treasonable felony after two years of its commission. But these provisions do not preclude the National Assembly from setting up a panel of inquiry with the power to advise the President to remove him, especially when he had already confessed to the scienter of treasonable felony.


Irrespective of the age of Pantami’s crimes, it has no bearing on his removal from his post by the president or on the recommendation of the Senate. The argument for age exemption is a non-sequitur (a statement that does not follow logically from another) for justifying his continuation in the office. Because with his confession of being a jihadist instigator, any deed or word of his would-be over-dissected and over-interpreted. This cannot be wholesome to the government embroiled in war with terrorists because Pantami’s continued stay in office will: 1) be perceived as a mole inside the government working for the terrorist groups; 2) raise a specter of more moles inside the government; 3) adversely impact morale among the armed forces as a saboteur; 4) continue to snowball the pervasive insecurity into succession agitation; 5) elongate the rumors of abusing NIN to accredit foreign Fulanis for election rigging and census; 6) prompt the superpowers to avoid helping for the fear that their efforts may be compromised; 7) continue to cause business activities’ stoppages, and torrential exodus in affected area; 8) lead to reading ethno-religious innuendoes into all his words and actions; 9) cause blackmailing of Nigeria government as terrorist government by foreign countries which continue issuing warning advisory to their citizens against visiting Nigeria; 10) vouchsafe evidence of existential collaboration between the terrorists and the security agencies; and 11) homologate the terrorists as the military wing of the Fulani Islamic fundamentalists.

Pantami was a graduate of one of the Islamic Universities that spread the doctrines of Wahhabism that originated in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is the official brand of Islam of the Saudis.

They call their adherents Wahhabids or Salafists. Wahhabism is the ultra-conservative, fundamental or puritanical subsect of Sunni Islam that is virulently intolerable of other Islamic sects—Shites, Ahhamadyyia—and other Sunnis who are not Salafists, and other faiths. It demonizes devotees of other Islamic sects and votarists of other religions as infidels. The Taliban, ISIS, Al Shabba, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda are products of puritanical Islam of Salafism. Wahhabism espouses jihadist terrorism which Pantami imbued as a student in Wahhabist Islamic University. Saudi Arabia spent billions of dollars in the ’90s and ’20s on sponsoring Muslims all over the globe in various universities funded by Saudi. Pantami and other Nigerian graduates of Salafism spread this virulent brand of Islam across the North spawning Sharia in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic and secular Nigeria!


Without being specific, Pantami apologizes for all his alleged crimes. In essence, he had admitted to the scienters of all these alleged crimes of supporting transnational-Islamic terrorist organizations, viz: Al queada, Al Shabba, Boko Haram, ISIS, and Taliban.

Pantami’s involuntary and belated apology for his heinous crimes is in essence an apologia for remaining as a minister, not for the crimes he committed. If the old video of him endorsing the murderous activities of some transnational-terrorist groups did not surface, he would not have proffered an apology. Remember that at first, Pantami lambasted the medium that exposed his jihadist pedigree before he reluctantly offered an apology to save his ministerial appointment. By the same token, we reserve the right to reject his belatedly insincere apology as hoodwink.

The pertinent questions to demonstrate the sincerity of his apology is, when did he apostate from Salafist indoctrination? Are there any rehabilitation programs taken to underscore he is Wahhabism-free? Has he engaged in any training to make him open-minded and tolerant: sensitivity training, awareness-based training, skill-based training, etc.? To be candid, it is insufficient to offer an apology after you have displayed “ad homimeni” (attacking a person’s character rather than addressing the issue). It was when he had been exposed that he offered a caveats-laden apology: “occurred a long time ago”, “too young when he committed the crime”, and “no more belief in jihadist philosophy”, etc.


The garrulous and browbeat Garba unsuccessfully tried to intimidate us by telling—without listening to our view (special pleading)— that the allegations which Pantami had accepted were excused by youthful exuberance; therefore, his apology must be forgiven to stay as a minister. Then, what about the revelation that the government has known about Pantami’s murderous jihadist propaganda from 2012 to 2020? Still, the Senate approved him for a ministerial post. If nothing, Garba’s excuse is evidence of grand cover that implicates the president and the Senate!

With the gravity of Pantami offenses which he has admitted, he should be fired from ministerial appointment. Or, the alternative, he should be suspended while his case is being investigated by a panel or Senate Committee to determine whether he is still engaging in misprision of treason, sedition, insurrection, terrorism, or treasonable felony.

It is no surprise that Garba would concoct a grand cover, insulting to our intelligence, for not firing Pantami under a president who does nothing amid wanton destruction of lives and properties nationwide. But they must be reminded that Nigeria is bigger and richer than these ethnic jingoists—and on secular Nigeria, we stand sine die

Olatunji is of UniWorld Legal Services


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