Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) for the 2019 presidential election, Mr. Kingsley Moghalu, said the decision of Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari to back minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, amid controversy over his past support for terror groups, undermines public accountability and the country’s efforts against terrorism.
Moghalu who demanded for the resignation of Pantami over his support for terror groups in the past, wondered if there were two sets of rules for Nigerians, given that former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, was forced to resign when she was was discovered to have run foul of the law.
Pantami has been under fire for his views expressing support for terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban during his preaching as a cleric in the 2000s.
Though amid the controversy, he explained that he made the comments while he was still young, many have continued to demand his resignation, arguing that noting shows that he no longer harbours extremist ideology.
Moghalu in a statement at the weekend, argued that though anyone can make mistakes and later take corrections, but it’s not acceptable that a person who had shown support for terrorist groups in the past should continue to serve as a minister in Nigeria.
“From information available: anyone can a mistake, and has the right to recant from it. But when the evidence shows that a serving minister of Nigeria has expressed open support for global terrorist groups, he should never have scaled the vetting process and been approved for that office,” Moghalu said.
“The implication of the timing of Pantami’s recanting of his views now is that he has been serving as a minister while presumably still harboring those views. His disagreement with Boko Haram does not absolve him of, at the very least, moral culpability for supporting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“For this reason, Pantami should not continue to serve as a Minister. For him to remain in his position, and for Nigerian president to support this, is to tell Nigerians that we have two sets of standards from the very same government, one for the likes of former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun who had to resign for a wrongdoing in her past, and another for Pantami.
“This position of Nigerian president undermines public accountability, as well as Nigeria’s struggle against terrorism.”