THE Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has admonished the Federal Government for what has been described as its support for a sympathiser of a terrorist organisation in a press statement released on Tuesday.
The statement, which Executive Director Ibrahim Zikirullahi signed, read that the Federal Government’s support of the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami had grave repercussions. It had negatively affected Nigeria’s relationship with key foreign allies needed to vanquish terrorism in the country.
Describing the Federal Government’s backing of Pantami as the “most damaging communication to emanate from the Nigerian Presidency,” the CHRICED warned that Nigeria was at risk of being regarded as a state-supporter of terrorism by countries around the world.
Highlighting other negative implications of the FG’s support of Pantami, the CHRICED noted that the government’s actions would also serve as a basis for maltreatment and harassment of Nigerians in the diaspora and may be reprimanded by the Financial Action Task Force, the watchdog for terrorist financing.
“It is unacceptable that the government would take such a brazen position without considering the very serious implications for Nigerians in the diaspora and around the world.”
The CHRICED also stated that the government’s position was made more alarming by the fact that terrorism had claimed the lives of several Nigerians these past few years, as Nigeria still struggles with the realities of global terrorism.
“It is unbelievable that a government which says it is committed to rooting out terror will be pampering and harbouring a terror sympathiser within its fold.”
CHRICED stated that such an approach to the issue would further enhance ethnic strife, raise mutual suspicions and serve as live ammunition in the hands of separatist agitators who would go to any lengths to ensure that Nigeria implodes.
The government was then urged to ensure that Pantami is investigated and made to account for his past activities.
Nigerians have been demanding the resignation of Pantami, over statements made in the past in support of terrorist groups such as Al-Queda. These statements were of admiration for the Taliban, Al- Queda and Jihad, and were from some of his preaching and lecture recordings from years ago.