By Dirisu Yakubu
Foremost rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to go the whole distance in ridding the federal government of all sympathisers of the ideals of terrorism in the country.
This is even as the group called on the Commander-in-Chief to immediately relieve Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Isa Ali Pantami of his duties over his comments in a viral video which portrayed him as a sympathizer of global terrorist sect, Al-Qaeda.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA charged President Buhari to be courageous in arresting and prosecuting terrorists and bandits such as armed Fulani herdsmen “who are about pushing Nigeria into a state of civil war by their unbridled quest to displace farmers all over the country.
The rights group challenged the President to “expose and boot out all the sleeping sympathizers of Islamic terror networks embedded in his federal government if he truly means to decisively dismantle all the terror cells in existence in Nigeria and especially those who are actively threatening the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The statement further read: “It is unimaginable that a government that is totally intolerant of divergent opinions and has done quite a lot to use brute force of the armed police and other security forces to physically crush supporters of such moderate Islamic groups like the Islamic Movement of Nigeria is the same administration that harbours someone who had indeed espoused the teachings of such global terrorism outlaws like the masterminds of Al-Qaeda global Jihadists movements.
“Ironically, after this same person has been exposed and his past misdeeds made abundantly open, President Muhammadu Buhari with all his holier-than-thou attitudes has refused to dismiss this self-confessed supporter of Al-Qaeda.
“Why did this government rush to classify the self-determination campaigners like the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist group whereas at the most strategic centre of administration, the country has someone who even by his belated admission, had previously supported international terrorists?.
“How does the Nigerian government want decent countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the European Union to have confidence in this same government under whose watch, a self-confessed supporter of the teachings of Al-Qaeda is the Minister of Communications and Digital economy?”
“This is hypocrisy raised to power two. The Minister of Communications and Digital economy, Sheikh Pantami must be dismissed forthwith unless the Muhammadu Buhari administration has now accepted to be a sympathizer of Al-Qaeda in which case, Nigerians should in their numbers pour out on the streets and force the entire federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari to resign immediately.”
Onwubiko urged Nigerians not to be deceived into accepting what he called “the belated statement of remorse made by the Minister who had earlier threatened to sue a newspaper that had linked him up to some of the teachings that glorify the global Jihadist movements.”
Pantami has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the past week but recently said in Abuja that some of the remarks credited to him in the past were made based on his understanding of religious issues at the time.