Ayodele Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti State, has blasted the Presidency for defending Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, over the controversy surrounding his previous extremist comments.
Pantami has been subject to intense criticism in recent days after his previous videos and audios of his sermons surfaced on social media, suggesting that he tacitly supported the activities of terrorist groups, including the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
He, however, renounced his previous comments last Saturday, saying that he made some of the statements when he started his preaching at a young age based on his understanding of religious issues and that his views have now changed having got more enlightened over the years.
The Presidency released a statement on Thursday, maintaining that it is in support of Pantami as he has apologised and recanted his past comments, and accused Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies of hatching a ‘cancel culture’ campaign against the minister.
But reacting in a statement on Sunday, Fayose said it is atrocious that the Presidency has now become a defender of Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers.
According to the former governor, the controversy over Pantami has further exposed the government’s hypocrisy.
The statement read: “The present situation of Nigeria, where the Presidency has become the employer and defender of Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits is so appalling.
“The issue of Isa Pantami has further exposed the govt’s hypocrisy and complicity. So saddening and worrisome that spokesmen of the president were the ones going from one media house to another to defend someone who openly supported terrorists.”
Fayose insisted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is employing double standards, noting that the treatment meted out to Kemi Adeosun, a former minister, who was forced to resign for certificate forgery is different from that of Pantami, who is known to have espoused extremist views.
He said because of the government’s inability to take decisive decision against terrorists, the country is no longer safe to live in.
The statement read: “It is funny that today, if those running the affairs of the country are not telling us that armed bandits must be seen as innocent until proven guilty, they will be saying offence of forgery is more grievous than open declaration of support for terrorists.
“Because of their inability to take decisive actions against these terrorists that they appear to have sympathy for, Nigeria is no longer safe for anyone to live in.
“Our roads have been taking over by terrorists while Nigerians, including traditional rulers are now being abducted right inside their bedrooms.”
The former governor advised Nigerians to avoid travelling around the country and to leave isolated areas.
“It is therefore my counsel to Nigerians that they should stay in their domains at this period and avoid travelling around the country.
“Those staying in isolated areas should also endeavor to move to where there are more people.
“It is my prayer that God will restore peace and normalcy to our country,” the statement read.