A presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu said that the extremist views of Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, was better than the certificate forgery involving Kemi Adeosun, a former Minister of Finance.
KanyiDaily recalls that Pantami has been under pressure to step down from office over some comments he allegedly made several years ago in support of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Boko Haram.
Nigerians have asked Pantami to emulate Mrs Adeosun who resigned as a minister in 2018 after it was uncovered that she forged her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.
Reacting to the resignation call when he appeared on Channels TV on Friday, Garba Shehu claimed that Pantami’s extremist views in support of terrorism is a lesser crime than Adeosun’s certificate forgery.
Shehu said that even though the cases of Adeosun and Pantami is alleged criminality, Nigerians who have failed to forgive the communication minister are the major problems of the country.
When asked why President Muhammadu Buhari led-government allowed Mrs Adeosun to go, but defended Mr Pantami, the presidential aide said:
“In the second case which is that of Pantami, you are probing the thoughts of what Americans call ‘McCarthyism’; you search the inner recesses of the minds of individuals, bring out things they have said, or they are about to say, or you think they would say, and use that against them.”
“If Pantami had forged a certificate before coming into office, the attitude (of the presidency) would have been different,” he said, maintaining that the minister is a changed person.
“We don’t remain in the same position. Don’t assume that things cannot change. If the one who created you gives it to you that from being bad, you can become good, what says you should deny some other person this right?”
He further noted that the continuous outcry and criticism of Mr Pantami explains that some Nigerians are intolerant and are the country’s problem.
“Those people who stand in criticism of a man who has said he had wronged society, he has apologised and changed, and they are not willing to forgive him to move on, they are the ones who are the problem. They are the ones who are deeply intolerant,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives have insisted that Pantami should resign or be removed by President Buhari.