Alleged terrorism link: CSO exposes those after Pantami, defends Minister

The Transparency Advocacy For Development Initiative (TADI) has said the alleged link of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isah Pantami, to terrorist organisations was from the collaboration of criminal elements whose activities had been seriously combated by the ongoing compulsory linking of the National Identification Number (NIN) to sinmcards.

A statement signed Monday by the executive director of TADI, Amb.Yomi David, described the allegation as a campaign of calumny aimed at tarnishing the image of the Minister.

The statement reads in parts, “Urgent need to correct fictitious and malicious insinuations to malign the Communication Minister through unsubstantiated allegations of links to terrorist organisations and the role of coordinated civil advocacy.

“Our attention has been drawn to series of filtering unsubstantiated allegation purpoted to have emanated from the US intelligence report released last Sunday alleging that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr Isah Pantami has a link with the dreaded Al Qaeda terrorist organisation and Boko Haram while no authentic source has confirmed or corroborate the damaging insinuation.

“It behoves on us as a Concerned Civil Society Organisation in Nigeria to as a matter of urgency and national concern expatiate more on the person of Dr Isah Pantami as a national asset that suddenly becomes the target of some unscrupulous criminal elements in the country and their collaborators outside the country to frustrate his dexterous attempts and programmes to institutionalize a safe data bank aimed at improving security challenges of our country with near accurate database.

“We find it so outrageously demeaning for the unscrupulous elements fanning embers of discord to implicate the US for credence to their unsubstantiated allegations of links with terrorist organisations simply because the Hon Minister has initiated pragmatic and proactive measures towards curbing the trends of digital malfunctioning and insecure census system that works in tandem with the security architecture of the nation,hence the malicious attack from those benefiting from a near zero data bank of all inhabitants in the country, whether indigene or foreigner.

“Without mincing words and judging by the coverage given to the allegation,it is suffice to state that it emanated from the collaboration of criminal elements whose activities had being seriously combated by the ongoing compulsory linking of NIN to SIM cards of all mobile communication networks operating in the country,hence orchestrating this unfounded allegation through erroneous petitions to the US intelligence Bureau and going to the media without the said allegation founded on the said watchlist.

“We in the Transparency Advocacy For Development Initiative (TADI) having related closely with the Minister in person even when he served in various Government Agencies which he headed and perform creditably well in the interest of peace, safety and development of Nigeria find it worthy to march in his solidarity and beseech the United States government to disassociate itself from relics of chauvinism aiming to distract our nation smooth progress to accurate censorial standard applicable in other saner climes.

“We are also compelled to call on the International Community to disregard this campaign of calumny aimed at tarnishing the image of the charismatic Minister using his religious past as the whims of the multinational communication companies whose nefarious activities are being checked by the recent policy introduced by the Minister and disrupting their nefarious businesses and warns the actors of this fictitious scene to desist from this malicious attacks on Minister Isah Pantami.

“Our organisation is a reputable civil society group that epitomizes change as a constant human nature and irrespective of the past of any individual,his present matters because we agreed totally with the words of Desmond Ford that “A wise man changes his mind sometimes,but a fool never. To change your mind is the best evidence that you have one.”

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