The Joint Council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs Nigeria has passed a vote of confidence on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, following calls for his resignation over alleged ties with Boko Haram sect.
Recall that a report by Daily Independent had claimed that the United States had placed the minister on their terror watchlist.
Although the newspaper later withdrew the report, the allegation had triggered social media campaign against the minister, with some calling for his resignation.
Releasing an interim report on the allegation on Monday, the group declared that the allegations against the minister as not only untrue but unfair and unjust to his person and character.
The report signed by the Chairman of the group, Bishop John Okafor, also described the allegations as a fundamental plot to dampen the image of “our dear country” before the world.
The statement read: “As religious and civil society leaders there’s no doubt that we remain the conscience of the nation and must live our responsibilities.
“To this end it became imminent for independent investigations to be launched into the allegations against Dr Pantami as a public officer.
“Indeed the joint council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs set up a committee to investigate these allegations.
“This is important for us as the conscience of the people to fulfil our obligations to the nation.
“We hold the government accountable at all times to live up to their contract with the people. In the same vein, we owe public officials some moral support needed to offer Service to the people.
“On the strength of this duty we made our independent findings and found the allegations against Dr Isa Pantami as not only untrue but unfair and unjust to his person and character but a fundamental plot to dampen the image of our dear country before the world.
“We find the allegations to be against the interest of the people who own this nation.
“If as the conscience of the nation we fail to correct these misconceptions then we have fundamentally failed in our obligations both to the people and government.”
Mr Okafor noted that the minister, being a sheikh, preaches Islam in the same way bishops and priests preach Christianity.
“Religious leaders do not base their teachings on personal views, and on this account cannot be held personally responsible for teaching according to the scripture.
“This single fact exonerates the allegations against Dr Pantami as an individual.
According to him, the council also found out that the minister never had any personal link with extremists both as a sheikh and public official.
“The council investigations also found out that the allegations were mere protests by interested stakeholders who are affected by the novel reforms in the telecommunication sector under the supervision of Dr Pantami.
“The joint council on Civil Society and Religious Affairs on the strength of these findings has unanimously recommended a vote of confidence on the person of Dr Pantami and appealed for moral support to public officials so as to have a basis to hold them accountable.
“The committee holds that the country belongs to everyone and we as citizens must do everything to preserve her image and identity regardless of our faith, political affiliations and business interests.”
The group, therefore, urged the media to be fair in their representations to Nigerians in order to maintain sanity as a people.