Don’t succumb to cheap blackmail, MURIC tells Pantami
The Muslim Rights Concern has urged the Minister of Communications and Digital Planning, Dr. Isa Pantami, to ignore calls for his resignation.
MURIC made the call on Monday in a statement issued by its director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.
The organisation alleged that internet fraudsters and kidnappers were behind the online campaign against the minister.
Pantami has been under fire lately over comments he allegedly made several years ago in support of Al-Qaeda – an extremist group founded by the late Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, by the US Navy SEALs inside a private residential compound in Pakistan.
Pantami also made comments in support of Taliban, a Sunni Islamist movement and military organisation in Afghanistan currently waging jihad within the country.
Part of the statement read, “It is a baseless call and it should be ignored. After all, the US itself has denied it. Pantami has been enjoying unhindered multiple entries to the US for a very long time. Even Facebook, the US-based social media giant had Pantami’s picture on Facebook’s digital board for several hours as a mark of honor and respect during one of his numerous visits to that country.
“The campaign of calumny is being pushed by forces against the Federal Government’s NIN policy, Boko Haram terrorists, bandits, criminals in general and political IDPs (Internally Displaced Politicians). No one who has the love of Nigeria at heart will support such a malicious and frivolous allegation.
“It is a well-known fact that NIN is designed to expose the true identity of criminals like Yahoo Yahoo boys, bandits and kidnappers who use the internet and telephone to extort money from foreigners and families of kidnapped victims. They live a life of Mr. Jekyll and Hyde : respected gentlemen in the day but dangerous criminals at night and on lonely alleys.
“They have become jittery ever since the NIN policy was introduced by Pantami’s Ministry of Communications and Digital Policy. They are among those who stand to benefit from Pantami’s resignation. As for the political IDPs, their motive is to ensure that no project initiated by the current administration succeeds.
“The implications of Pantami’s resignation at this crucial stage are too gloomy to contemplate. It is a national security issue. The NIN scheme, our hope for dealing a technical blow on terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping and all sorts of criminality in the country will suffer suffocating palpitations. There will be a break in monitoring. It is better for us to allow the man who started it to finish it. If any problem arises after we have changed hands in the middle of its implementation, the new boss will easily shift the blame. It will then be a double tragedy. Let the beginner be the finisher. #beginnermustbefinisher
“In the interest of our great country, Nigeria, we, therefore, charge Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to ignore calls for his resignation. An agitation for resignation which is not based on sincerity and truth must be resisted by patriots. This campaign for the minister’s resignation is in bad taste. It is pregnant with ulterior motives. Pantami must not surrender. He must not succumb to cheap blackmail. A captain does not abandon ship in stormy waters. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
“On the issue of statements credited to Pantami in his younger days, we wonder how detractors would give preference to pronouncements made by a teenager and those made in the days of students’ unionism to those made after maturity and clairvoyance. It is sheer mischief to seek to use that against him.”