The calls for resignation and pressure on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, over his alleged links to extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram in addition to his pro-Taliban views has continued unabated.
The campaign which started with unconfirmed media reports that the United States Government had allegedly placed him on a security watchlist over alleged links with the late founder and leader of the dreaded Boko Haram group, Mohammed Yusuf, later snowballed into a series of other allegations which border on his extreme Islamic views and activities in the past.
Pantami, an Islamic cleric, in his initial reaction to the allegation of being on US security watchlist due to his extremist views, denied the allegations, saying that he had always preached against the Boko Haram sect for over 15 years over its condemnable doctrines and practices at the expense of his life.
He alleged that those behind these allegations are those who are not happy with his implementation of the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari on security especially the government policy on National Identification Number (NIN) and threatened legal action against the publishers.
The Minister in his statement said, ‘’News Wire Nigeria your retraction through your independent investigation has been noted. However, investigative journalism requires the investigation before publishing, not after. Further, major publishers will meet my lawyers in court on this defamation of character.
My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria. If you can’t understand Hausa, get an objective Hausa speaker to translate for you objectively.
For your information, by the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop Isa Pantami from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on security.”
Nigerians Demands Dr. Isa Pantami’s Resignation- (See their reactions)
As the calls from Nigerians for the resignation of the 48-year-old Minister continued, over his religious views, Pantami, for the first time on Saturday, April 17, 2021, according to some media reports, acknowledged his past religious views but said that he has since renounced those radical comments.
He blamed his past radical leanings on age, immaturity and limited knowledge as well as based on his understanding of religious issues at the time, adding that he has changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity,
However, despite renouncing his past radical views, more people on social media and even public figures, have joined the agitation for his resignation, saying that his views as a student cannot be blamed on age.
Some Nigerians have expressed their views on the matter with a good number of them insisting that the Minister has to resign. A Twitter user, Chris Chukwu, said Nigerians are not going to sleep on this issue because he is a threat to National security.
@Festus Ogun said that if the President refuses to sack Pantami, he should be prepared for #EndSARS part 2.
Effiong John, while stating why President Buhari would not sack the Communications Minister said that a terrorist apologist will not sack another terrorist apologist.
A human rights activist Comrade Deji Adeyanju said that a terrorist sympathizer is a terrorist.
Ayemojubar lamented that Nigeria has been taken over by terrorists.
Another Twitter user, Abiodun Sanusi said that sympathizing with Isa Pantami is the same as showing sympathy for Osama Bin Laden.
However, while responding to Governor Wike’s reaction to the issue, a former presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore said that the Rivers State Governor was only grandstanding as he was some time ago, caught on tape threatening to kill an INEC official.
Some Nigerians have, however, expressed their support and sympathy for the Minister as they believed that he is being victimized for some of the government’s policies that he is driving.
A Twitter user Khaleel Kumo said that #Pantami must go is purely hypocritical and directed at anything good that comes out from Islam.
A Twitter user Faarees asked that the #PantamiMustGo must stop trending and Nigerians should go and link their SIM with their NIN.
Musbey in his defence for Pantami said that as long as you are a practising Muslim and successful, they will hate you.
NYCN Urges President Buhari to ignore the extremism charges on Dr. Ali Isa Pantami
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore religious extremism charges being made against the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Ali Pantami.
The group said the attacks were aimed at getting rid of the “best brains’” in the government. In a letter addressed to Buhari on Tuesday, NYCN said the recent media report, which emanated from audio and video sermons delivered by the minister, has made some Nigerians to call for his resignation or removal by the Nigerian leader.
The letter with reference number PRES/GCFR/FGN/NYCN/01/21 drew the president’s attention to what it described as a wider plot by people with sinister motives to discredit other top federal government’s functionaries.
In the letter signed by NYCN president, Solomon Adodo, the group said, “The programme of building a digital economy for Nigeria to join the league of advanced countries of the world is a task the indefatigable Sheikh Pantami is pursuing to the delight of young people of this country.”
NYCN said the current furor emanated from the views expressed by Pantami in the distant past, lamenting that the minister’s statements had become a sinister political tool for those who are bent on looking for ways to get rid of the best brains in the current administration.
It said Pantami had unfortunately been “singled out as a major target in this subtle and sinister campaign against your government and the Nigerian State.”
The group said, “It will be very regrettable to pay any serious attention to the machinations of the enemies of the ‘Change and Next Level Agenda’ in the light of the fact that the grand plot is to fan the embers of divisions and disintegration, designed to destabilize and make mockery of your government.”
The Presidency’s Statement
In defense of the Communications Minister, the Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity said that Pantami, made those extremist remarks when he was in his 20s and has since then retracted them and changed his views.
The Presidency pointed out that this currently manufactured dispute has nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words but rather concerns over his actions in the present which include leading the charge against illegal data deductions and pricing, deregistering 9.2 million SIMs thereby ending the ability for criminals and terrorists to use mobile networks undetected.
Also reacting to alleged links of Pantami to the death of the late former Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, Rev. John Hayab, warned against linking the death of Yakowa to Dr Isa Pantami.
He called on Nigerians to ignore such insinuations and release of some documents with doubtful authenticity, which endangers national peace.
Read the Statement below;
Today, there is an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.
This insidious phenomenon seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is, currently, subject to a “cancel campaign” instigated by those who seek his removal. They do not really care what he may or may not have said some 20 years ago: that is merely the instrument they are using to attempt to “cancel” him. But they will profit should he be stopped from making decisions that improve the lives of everyday Nigerians.
The Minister has, rightly, apologized for what he said in the early 2000s. The views were absolutely unacceptable then, and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them. But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong.
In the 2000s, the Minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.
But all discerning Nigerians know this manufactured dispute is nothing to do with the Minister’s prior words, but solely concern his actions in the present.
This Administration is committed to improving the lives of all Nigerians – and that includes ensuring they are not over-charged or under-protected for those services on which modern life depends.
The Minister has been leading the charge against illegal data deductions and pricing; he has revolutionized the government’s virtual public engagement to respond to COVID-19 and save taxpayers’ money; he has established ICT start-up centres to boost youth entrepreneurship and create jobs; he has changed policy to ensure locally produced ICT content is used by ministries, starting with his own; and he has deregistered some 9.2 million SIMs – ending the ability for criminals and terrorists to flagrantly use mobile networks undetected. In two short years, Minister Pantami has driven the contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP to more than 18 percent, making it one of the top two playing a critical role in the emergence of the economy from the COVID 19-induced recession.
In putting people first, the Minister and this administration have made enemies. There are those in the opposition who see success and want it halted by any means. And there is now well-reported information that alleges newspaper editors rebuffed an attempt to financially induce them to run a smear campaign against the minister by some ICT companies, many of which do indeed stand to lose financially through lower prices and greater consumer protections. The government is now investigating the veracity behind these claims of attempted inducement, and – should they be found to hold credence – police and judicial action must be expected.
The Administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 22, 2021
The very critical question is why are these allegations are coming up now after almost 2 years in office as a Minister. Is he a terrorist sympathizer, an allegation he has denied or is he a victim of some of the government policies whose execution he is spearheading?
These are questions that are still begging for answers.
NEXIM Bank urges FG to boost regional trade
June 16, 2021T
he Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) has advised the Federal Government to make effort to boost Nigeria’s trade in the ECOWAS and African continent.
Mr Abba Bello, Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, gave the advice in Abuja on Wednesday, at the ongoing Nigeria @ 60 Exhibition of Made in Nigeria Products and Cultural Display.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exhibition was organised by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nigeria @ 60, in collaboration with Business Visa and Trainings Co. Ltd.
According to Bello, Nigeria’s regional trade is low at less than 12 per cent and 15 per cent for ECOWAS and the African continent, respectively.
This is in spite of Nigeria’s ranking as the biggest economy in Africa with a GDP of about $477 billion and contributing over 60 per cent of ECOWAS GDP.
Bello, while speaking on “the Fundamentals of Branding and Financing Made in Nigeria Products for Export’’ highlighted key issues that must be addressed for the country to increase export and boost regional trade.
He said that Nigeria had the best chance to promote rapid industrialisation and boost manufactured exports in the regional market, where it had comparative advantage.
On developing Services Export, he noted that services contributed over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, yet the country did not have significant footprint in services export.
He said that this needed to be addressed.
“Currently, Nigeria’s Nollywood industry is ranked among the most prolific in the world.
“Empirical evidence also indicates that Nigeria can compete favourably in such areas as ICT and other professional services,’’ he said.
Bello said that Branding for Export was important to export, as it could affect product perception, which may create customer loyalty or lead to product rejection, as the case may be.
“It has been said that poor branding is one of the reasons why Nigerian products, particularly value-added products, have not performed optimally in the international market.
“An exporter should therefore see himself/herself as an ambassador, as his activities/products will not only impact his brand, but could impact the bigger brand, that is, the image of our country Nigeria.
“Product Packaging and Labeling as well as availability of well-equipped testing labs are quite critical to ensuing product quality, which impact on the exporter and Nigeria’s brand.
“Equally important is the activities of regulatory agencies like the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services,’’ he said.
According to Bello, the dearth of quality labs/ quality packaging provides investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, while helping to promote export.
He said that Nigeria’s export, currently dominated by raw/semi-processed, mainly agricultural commodities, usually attracts low export prices.
“There is a need to increasingly add value to our products to boost export revenues and create more jobs,’’ Bello said.
He said it was instructive to enhance credit flow to the non-oil export sector, especially with regard to supporting capital investments in productive assets.
This, according to him, is necessary toward realisation of the key objectives of economic diversification.
MTNN lifts trading on NGX by 0.15%
June 16, 2021
Trading activities on the Nigerian Exchange rebounded on Wednesday with a gain of 0.15 per cent due to interest in MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN).
Specifically, the All-Share Index increased by 57.41points or 0.15 per cent to close at 38,564.70 from 38,507.29 achieved on Tuesday.
Consequently, the month-to-date return increased to 0.3 per cent, while the year-to-date loss moderated to 4.2 per cent.
Similarly, the market capitalisation rose by N30 billion or 0.15 per cent to close at N20.099 trillion against N20.069 trillion posted on Tuesday.
The market upturn was driven by price appreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks amongst which are: Seplat, MTNN, Africa Prudential, Unilever and United Bank for Africa.
As measured by market breadth, market sentiment turned positive with 27 gainers against 21 losers.
Cornerstone Insurance dominated the gainers’ chart in percentage terms with 10 per cent to close at 55k per share.
Morison Industries followed with 9.68 per cent to close at N1.36 and Learn Africa rose by 6.52 per cent to close at 98k per share.
Africa Prudential appreciated by 5.79 per cent to close at N6.40, while Courteville Business Solutions garnered five per cent to close at 21k per share.
On the other hand, Abbey Mortgage Bank led the laggards’ chart in percentage terms with 9.52 per cent to close at 95k per share.
Consolidated Hallmark Insurance trailed with 9.46 per cent to close at 67k, while CWG shed 7.26 per cent to close at N1.15 per share.
Wapic Insurance dropped 7.02 per cent to close at 53k, while Regency Alliance Insurance depreciated by 6.25 per cent to close at 45k per share.
Also, the total volume of shares traded increased by 1.81 per cent to 302.72 million shares valued at N2.81 billion exchanged in 4,387 deals.
This was in contrast with 297.35 million shares worth N3.65 billion transacted in 4,402 deals on Tuesday.
Transactions in the shares of Sterling Bank topped the activity chart with 37.47 million shares valued at N57.83 million.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated followed with 27.39 million shares worth N142.47 million, while Wema Bank traded 27.15 million shares valued at N15.002 million.
Guaranty Trust Bank sold 26.49 million shares worth N745.34 million, while Japaul Gold and Ventures transacted 22.14 million shares valued at N11.04 million.
NGX market indices up 0.10% in bullish trading
June 10, 2021
The bullish run in the local bourse persisted on Thursday with the key market indicators increasing further by 0.10 per cent.
Consequently, the All-Share Index advanced by 39.15 points or 0.10 per cent to close at 39,210.10 from 39,170.95 recorded on Wednesday.
Accordingly, month-to-date gain increased to 2.0 per cent, while year-to-date loss moderated to 2.6 per cent.
The market capitalisation gained N21 billion to close at N20.437 trillion, in contrast with N20.416 trillion on Wednesday.
The market upturn was driven by price appreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are Unilever Nigeria, PZ Cussons, Vitafoam, Dangote Sugar Refinery and May and Baker.
The market breadth closed positive with 19 gainers against 15 laggards.
Linkage Assurance recorded the highest price to lead the gainers’ chart in percentage terms with 9.09 per cent to close at 60k per share.
PZ Cussons followed with 7.46 per cent to close at N6 per share.
May and Baker and Chams rose by five per cent each to close at N4.20 and 21k per share, respectively.
Unilever gained 4.96 per cent to close at N12.70 per share.
On the other hand, Computer Warehouse Group led the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.60 per cent to close at N1.13 per share.
Consolidated Hallmark Insurance followed with 8.97 per cent to close at 71k, while Associated Bus Company lost 7.50 per cent to close at 37k per share.
Wapic Insurance dipped 6.78 per cent to close at 55k, while Mutual Benefit Assurance shed 6.52 per cent each to close at 43k per share.
However, the total volume of trades decreased by 12.8 per cent to 158.37 million shares valued at N2.24 billion exchanged in 3,330 deals.
It was against a turnover of 181.53 million shares worth N3.96 billion achieved in 3,217 deals on Wednesday.
Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 27.32 million shares valued at N629.22 million.
Sterling Bank followed with 22.02 million shares worth N35.09 million, while United Bank for Africa traded 21.69 million shares valued at N154.24 million.
Transcorp sold 9.15 million shares worth N8.15 million, while Chams transacted 8.32 million shares worth N1.68 million.
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