The Muhammadu Buhari Led administration has declared its support for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, amid calls for his resignation or removal.
Presidency last night conceded that the views expressed by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, endorsing some terrorist groups in the past are unacceptable.
But the Presidency said notwithstanding its condemnation of the past opinion of the Minister on terrorism, it stands resolutely with him because of his work for Nigerians.
“The administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services,” he said.
Pantami was widely criticised recently for the comments he made in the past in support of extremist groups.
The remarks he was said to have made many years ago sparked debate and controversy just recently, with many calling for his resignation while others called on President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve him of his duties.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja, the Presidency blamed the minister’s trivial on the opposition and some unnamed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies.
The Presidency agreed with the troubled minister’s claim that he was young at the time he made those remarks and that his stance had since changed.
It stated that the minister would never make such comments again after condemning and apologizing for them. The Presidency described the calls for Pantami’s sack “as 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 Presidency also said that the calls for Pantami’s sack are “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 President’s spokesman stated that Pantami had publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong and would not repeat them.
Despite the calls for his removal, the minister attended the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) which was presided by President Muhammadu Buhari On Wednesday.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had told reporters at the end of the meeting that the issue of Pantami’s removal was not discussed.