- A religious group with a Christian leaning has declared its support for Dr Isa Pantami
- The group stated that the minister is being targeted because of his reforms in Nigeria's telecoms sector
- Pantami, Nigeria's embattled minister of communications and digital economy, has been in the news for alleged links to terrorists
The Joint Council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs, Nigeria, has condemned the allegations of links to terrorist groups levied against the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Pantami.
The chairman of the council, Bishop John Okafor, made their stance known in a statement seen by Legit.ng on Monday, April 19.
Part of the statement read:
“The council after investigation found out that the allegations against him had been a target on both his person as a minister and, the image of the country.
“It also found out that Dr Pantami at no time had any personal link with any extremist, both as a sheikh and public official.
“The council investigations also found out that the allegations were, a mere protest by interested stakeholders, who are affected by the novel reforms in the telecommunication sector, under the supervision of Pantami.”
According to Bishop Okafor, Pantami is a sheikh of the Islamic faith, just as bishops and priests are in the Christian faith, adding that the minister preached the convictions as laid down in the holy Quran, same as Christian preachers do, according to the Holy Bible.
He further announced that the council had unanimously recommended a vote of confidence on Pantami.
Bishop Okafor also urged the media to be fair in their reportage and reports about serving public officials.
In a related development, a civil society organisation, Transparency Advocacy For Development Initiative, has called on the international community to disregard the recent media reports linking Pantami to terrorism.
According to the group, the reports were fictitious, malicious, and an attempt to malign the minister.
The group's position was contained in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Monday, April 19, and signed by its executive director, Ambassador Yomi David.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Dr Pantami said allegations that he has links with extremists are lies.
According to him, the allegations are being spread by people who are unhappy that the government is linking National Identification Number with telephone SIMs.