The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, says President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Isa Pantami as Nigeria’s communications minister to serve a predetermined purpose, noting the government will not cast him away no matter how loud the call for his removal becomes.
CAN’s position was relayed by its General Secretary Joseph Daramola in an interview with Punch. The comments come less than 24 hours after the presidency defended Mr Pantami of his alleged support for terrorist groups.
Mr Daramola said the Christian body is not surprised that the presidency swiftly came out to exonerate Pantami, saying those who tapped him for the job were quite aware of his antecedents and must have given him specific instructions to carry out in government.
“Government studies the characters they put in particular positions. If you are eloquent in speaking and you can lie, you can be made minister of communications,” Mr Daramola said. “What do you expect? You think the Presidency will sack him? There is what we call corporate interest. The Presidency is protecting its interest. Didn’t the Presidency appoint Pantami in the first place?”
The cleric said Mr Pantami had always promoted actions that target non-Muslims. He reckoned that the embattled minister had been alleged to issue fatwas against non-Muslims since his time at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
“Who are his (Pantami) targets? Who are his actions targeted at? Who receives the actions and inactions of Pantami? Non-Muslims are his target.” the CAN leader asserted.
Mr Pantami was accused of endorsing the killing of a Christian undergraduate, Sunday Achi, a 400-level student of Architecture at the ATBU on December 9, 2004 on grounds of blasphemy.
The deceased father, Professor Samuel Achi, confirmed that Mr Pantami was the Chief Imam of the ATBU Mosque when the Muslim community issued a fatwa on late Achi, who was dragged out from his hostel and strangled inside the university mosque for sharing Christian tracts.
The CAN scribe said contrary to what Aso Villa would want Nigerians to believe, Mr Pantami was well aware of his actions when he was promoting extremism campaigns and has never denied attacking non-muslims.
“I believed a leopard can’t change its skin. Can a leopard change its skin?” he asked. “If they like, they should leave him but nothing that has a beginning that does not have an end,” the CAN secretary concluded