By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
As the controversy over the past comments and views of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami on terrorism rages on, the leadership of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has absolved the Minister of any wrongdoing.
Professor Ishaq Akintola, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has stoutly defended Pantami, saying that “the statements credited to him were made when he was still a teenager and naïve”.
Prof. Akintola who was a guest of African Independent Television (AIT) breakfast programme ‘Kakaaki’ on Tuesday, argued that Pantami should not be held responsible for the views he held on terrorism in the past because he made those terrorism remarks when he was a teenager and an undergraduate”.
According to him the embattled Minister has since renounced terrorism and has been preaching against violence at every given opportunity just as he said; “Pantami has had a debate against violence with the alleged Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf and he defeated him”.
Prof. Akintola also said that the Boko Haram leader, Shekau has earlier this year threatened to kill Pantami for preaching against terrorism and wondered why the sudden call for the Minister for the views he held on terrorism in the past.
He therefore said the current calls for the sack of the Minister by the Federal Government are the handiwork of mischief makers and those who do not see anything good in the present administration.
But Dr. Ferdinand Ikwang, a Security Analyst who was also a guest of AIT breakfast programme on Tuesday cautioned that the Pantami’s case should not be reduced to ethnic, religious and tribal subject as it bothers on national security.
He also said the views held by Pantami was same views held by extremists, insisting that; “those views and ideological positions had actually radicalized thousands of people in Nigeria”.
Dr. Ikwang is of the view that the Minister ought to have resigned from his position since the story broke, adding that: “it is now a moral burden for the Minister to continue to remain in office while his integrity has been called to question”.
The Security Expert however said precedence have been set hence he does not think the Minister will resign or be removed.
“Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Minister will resign or be removed from office because we have seen in the past where public officers were found wanting but stayed put on their jobs. The recent example being the head of a government agency publicly doing “Kung Fu” fight of Bruce Lee yet he has not been removed nor did he resign”.
Prompt News recalls that Pantami has recently being embroiled in controversy over his past comments and views on terrorism which he argued he has since renounced and has become “a Crusader for non violence”.