Pantami should resign now
Sir: The advent of Boko Haram in 2002 and its militant approach in 2009 has brought terrorism closer to the doorsteps of Nigerians. To be associated with terrorism is worse than a mortal sin even if it is a mere joke. Ask Prince Harry who faced public opprobrium when he once wore a Swastika on Halloween day.
Since a newspaper on April 11 broke the story that the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami was a terrorist sympathiser, held pro-jihadist beliefs and was a close alliance with Boko Haram founder, Muhammad Yusuf, the Pandora’s Box had been open. Sahara Reporters and Peoples Gazette dug up old videos of him which showed some amount of sympathy to international terrorist groups. Pantami was presented as a religious bigot and an active supporter of international terrorism.
Some Twitter influencers took to the micro blogging site to create a hashtag #ResignIsaPantami. Pantami bowing to public pressure said that he once had extremist views in his youth but had ‘repented’ of them. Some of his supporters opined that the reason for his persecution is because he stepped on some powerful toes in the current NIN sim registration as sim cards were not sold for some months leading to the massive loss of revenue by the telecommunications companies. A counter thread was created on Twitter opposing the call for him to resign.
Terrorism is a grave issue and there should be zero tolerance for its sympathisers since it is a grave offence. We recall that the United States under Barack Obama liquidated Osama Bin Laden using the Naval seals and didn’t give him room for any form of trial despite its being the world’s bastion for the Rule of Law.
How come Pantami made it to the Buhari cabinet when the Department for Security Services (DSS) is saddled with the onerous responsibility of screening potential ministers and other political appointees through rigorous security checks? How did this infraction slip them by? Pantami’s admission of guilt at uttering those reprehensible statements should make President Muhammadu Buhari show him the door if he has been obdurate in his refusal to throw in the towel. In sane countries, he would have resigned after his guilt admission.
Nigerians shouldn’t give up in their cry for Pantami to be forced to resign. The DSS will be biased in investigating him while he is still a minister. Public office holders should be mindful of their statements in public and private and terrorism sympathy should not be condoned in any form. The Twitter warriors should not give up as Uhuru is near; the era of public officials showing contempt for Nigerians will soon be history.
I join my countrymen in the loud cry that #Pantami must resign!
Tony Ademiluyi is a co-founder of The Vent Republic Media.
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