The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) says Nigeria’s cybersecurity war will suffer a setback if Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital planning, resigns.
A campaign for Pantami’s resignation, #PantamiResignNow, has been trending for days on social media over the minister’s comments in the past adjudged to be proclamations in support of terror groups.
Pantami has publicly recanted his previous comments, saying he made them at a time he had little knowledge of the issues involved.
The calls for his resignation, have, however, not waned.
Reacting in a statement on Monday, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, said it “sheer mischief” to use what Pantami, a known Islamic scholar, said in his teenage years against him.
The group claimed the campaign was launched against the minister over the federal government’s national identification number (NIN) policy “designed to expose the true identity of criminals like Yahoo Yahoo boys, bandits and kidnappers”.
It said Pantami should be allowed to finish what he started, adding that the minister’s resignation will herald gloom.
“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,” MURIC said.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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