The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged the Minister of Communications and Digital Planning, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, to ignore calls by some people that he should resign.
MURIC made the call on Monday, 19th April 2021 in a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads:
“A section of the Nigerian press published reports of calls being made by some people for the resignation of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami over the fake news that the US had placed him on its watchlist. The second allegation was that the minister had made certain radical pronouncements in the past.
“It is a baseless call and it should be ignored. Afterall, the US itself has denied it. Dr. Pantami has been enjoying unhindered multiple entry to the US for a very long time. Even Facebook, the US based social media giant had Pantami’s picture on Facebook’s digital board for several hours as a mark of honor and respect during one of his numerous visits to that country.
“The campaign of calumny is being pushed by forces against the Federal Government’s NIN policy, Boko Haram terrorists, bandits, criminals in general and political IDPs (Internally Displaced Politicians). No one who has the love of Nigeria at heart will support such a malicious and frivolous allegation.
“It is a well-known fact that NIN is designed to expose the true identity of criminals like Yahoo Yahoo boys, bandits and kidnappers who use the internet and telephone to extort money from foreigners and families of kidnapped victims. They live a life of Mr. Jekyll and Hyde : respected gentlemen in the day but dangerous criminals at night and on lonely alleys.
“They have become jittery ever since the NIN policy was introduced by Pantami’s Ministry of Communications and Digital Policy. They are among those who stand to benefit from Pantami’s resignation. As for the political IDPs, their motive is to ensure that no project initiated by the current administration succeeds.
“The implications of Pantami’s resignation at this crucial stage are too gloomy to contemplate. It is a national security issue. The NIN scheme, our hope for dealing a technical blow on terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping and all sorts of criminality in the country will suffer suffocating palpitations. There will be a break in monitoring. It is better for us to allow the man who started it to finish it. If any problem arises after we have changed hands in the middle of its implementation, the new boss will easily shift the blame. It will then be a double tragedy. Let the beginner be the finisher. #beginnermustbefinisher
“In the interest of our great country, Nigeria, we therefore charge Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to ignore calls for his resignation. An agitation for resignation which is not based on sincerity and truth must be resisted by patriots. This campaign for the minister’s resignation is in bad taste. It is pregnant with ulterior motives. Pantami must not surrender. He must not succumb to cheap blackmail. A captain does not abandon ship in stormy waters. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
“On the issue of statements credited to Pantami in his younger days, we wonder how detractors would give preference to pronouncements made by a teenager and those made in the days of students’ unionism to those made after maturity and clairvoyance. It is sheer mischief to seek to use that against him.
“If they have evidence of speeches delivered 35 years ago when Pantami was a teenager, we have indubitable proof of more recent anti-terrorism speeches, particularly his public debates with the late Boko Haram leader Muhammad Yusuf where the minister made mincemeat of the arguments of Muhammad Yusuf. But our strongest evidence is the threat made by Shekau, the current leader of Boko Haram, to kill Pantami.
“Again, come to think of it. It was not as if the minister committed any official misconduct. Neither is it for abuse of office nor for corrupt enrichment. Some people just want to crucify him for daring to acquire infotech skills ostensibly reserved for a certain circle of elites. They believe that this is a field jealously reserved and guarded for the Western literati and their Nigerian cronies. Not an area for a mallam. It is just too petty the way some Nigerians think and behave. This is another big raison d’etre for the Shaykh to sit tight, continue and complete his good work, all to the chagrin of mean detractors.
“Pantami could have resigned the moment his life was threatened by the Boko Haram leader in February 2021. But he continued to wheather the storm because he was determined to finish the NIN scheme which he initiated. He knows that his intiative is crucial to the defeat of insurgency and terrorism. The terrorists also know it and that was the cassu belli for the threat on Pantami’s life. They wanted him to stop the NIN scheme.
“A man who puts his life on the line for the sake of his country deserves the support of every right thinking Nigerian. It is therefore ironical that the same man is being asked to resign. This is definitely a gangup by rebellious subjects and enemies of the people. They do not mean well for Nigeria.
“We call on every Nigerian who still has some modicum of our values and norms: hardwork, truthfulness, transparency and accountability to stand in solidarity with the honourable minister. We must not collectively hand over one of the few symbols of our pride to people who believe in easy money, people who see fraud as a necessity of life, people who believe in making their own wealth by causing hardship, pain and agony for others. It will mean the triumph of evil. We must not allow this to happen. Auudhubillahi. Allah forbid.
“The good people of this country must speak up in defence of truth. The Arabs say, ‘Silence on abomination is abomination’ (As-sukuutu ‘ala al-munkar munkar). According to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. ‘The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.’
“This is the time for good people to intervene. It was Martin Luther King Jnr who said, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’. We must not forget the warning issued by Albert Einstein when he said, ‘The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything’.
“MURIC will not stand akimbo while a dedicated Nigerian is being rubbished by rogue politicians, materialists and morally deficient people. We stand with the truth. We identify with dignity and integrity. We stand with Pantami in this crucial moment. #WestandwithPantami #Pantamimuststay #Beginnermustbefinisher
Refineries Not Created To Reduce Petrol Price, Kyari Tells Senate
Forty eight hours after being summoned by the Senate, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has now appeared before the joint committee on appropriations.
The Senate had issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Wednesday to the NNPCL boss after an observations that he had in previous occasions, shunned summons by the Senate to appear before its ad-committee probing over 11 trillion naira expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
Responding to questions by the senate committee on appropriations on the potential drop in pump price of petroleum owing to the expected functionality of refineries, Kyari clarified his comment after he was interrogated again. He explained that it might be possible to have a reduction, but it is not the main objective of the refineries.
He buttressed that maintaining the energy security target has fostered the confidence that in 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products.
The NNPCL boss affirmed that no subsidy is charged to the federation, adding that the NNPC has contributed 4.45 trillion naira as direct revenue into the federation in a combination of taxes, royalties and dividends and paid 406 billion naira as dividend to Federal Government’s account from July 2023.
According to him, Nigeria does not have credible data for PMS consumption in the country because of the absence of the instrument to measure.
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, had on Wednesday, directed Kyari to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government. Channels TV.
Labour Leaders Meet To Work Out Living Wages
Ahead of the expected resumption of negotiation between the Federal Government and the organised labour on the new Minimum Wage, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is meeting in Abuja to brainstorm so as to arrive at a living wage that is commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.
This came as the NLC has vowed not to be deterred by the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State, which it said poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.
These were contained in the welcome address by the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, at the Opening Session of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School with the theme: “Building Workers’ Skills for Policy Engagement” in Abuja.
Ajaero, represented by the Congress Deputy President, Benjamin Anthony said: “In the face of adversity and brutality encountered while advocating for the rights of workers to earn their legitimate income and benefits, our resolve remains unwavering. We are motivated to continue our efforts towards achieving decent work and improving working conditions in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
“The recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, and should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill.
“The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo State Government to address all labour issues and return the so called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions and call back all victimized workers to their jobs.
“It has become very necessary for governments at all levels to recognize that life and living conditions are exceedingly difficult, especially for working people in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”
“The removal of subsidy on petroleum products has further exacerbated the challenges faced by working people, unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.
“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development,” he added.
He implored participants to approach the training programme with a quest and thirst for knowledge through asking of questions and sharing of experiences with the facilitators and with one another.
He thanked the representative of the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Country Director of the ILO for the English Speaking, West African Countries, the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, the Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, Country Director of the Solidarity Centre, members of the NAC, CWC and NEC of the NLC for finding time to attend the Opening Session of the 2023 School.
Operatives Of NDLEA Uncover Illicit Drugs Concealed In Dolls, Local Soap, Milo Tins
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have uncovered illicit substances bound for Europe, United Arab Emirates and Asia.
Disclosing this in a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said the illicit substances intercepted included various quantities of methamphetamine and opioids concealed in hems of new jeans trousers, dolls, buttons, local soap and tins of milo beverage.
Noting that the operation was carried out by operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) at courier houses in Lagos, he said some of the items seized included tramadol 225mg concealed in hems of new jeans trousers heading to Cyprus; shipment of cannabis sativa hidden in heads of dolls going to Dubai; sachets of tramadol 225mg buried in tins of milo beverage going to UAE; and another set of same drug hidden in local soap also going to UAE.
Others were a consignment of methamphetamine concealed in buttons heading to Hong Kong; and a shipment of another illicit substance coming from Florida, USA.
“Operatives in Lagos on Friday 1st December also arrested a drug kingpin, Okechukwu Ogala, 56, who specialises in exploiting and recruiting young citizens to export meth to Asian countries.
“He was arrested at Blue Moon Hotel in Okota area of Lagos with 60 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.009 kilograms.
“In another operation in Lagos, operatives on Friday 1st December recovered 393kgs of cannabis in a shop at Akala, Mushin while a suspect, Justin Enuonye, who deals in Canadian Loud was arrested by the police at Victoria Island and transferred to Lagos Command of NDLEA on Friday 1st December with 154 parcels weighing 92kgs.
“A team of NDLEA operatives also intercepted a vehicle at Oyingbo area of Lagos and recovered 108kgs of cannabis from it, while 675 kilograms of the same substance were recovered from the store of a wanted dealer, Wahab Olota at Adedoja area of Mushin, Lagos,” Babafemi said. Channels TV.
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