From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Transparency Advocacy For Development Initiative (TADI), an NGO, has spoken in defence of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, claiming that he is a victim of a political witch-hunt and has no links with Boko Haram or any terrorist group as has been alleged.
Briefing reporters in Abuja, TADI Executive Director Yomi David stressed the need to correct what he called ‘fictitious insinuations to malign the communication minister through unsubstantiated allegations of links to terrorist organisations.’
David said it behoves on him as a matter of urgency and national concern to expatiate more on the person of Pantami as a national asset that has become the subject of unproven allegations.
He said some Nigerians and collaborators outside the country ‘are frustrating dexterous attempts and programmes to institutionalise a safe data bank aimed at improving security challenges of our country with a near accurate database.’
He continued: ‘We find it so outrageously demeaning to implicate the US for credence to their unsubstantiated allegations of links with terrorist organisations simply because the minister has initiated pragmatic and proactive measures towards curbing the trends of digital malfunctioning and insecure census system that works in tandem with the security architecture of the nation, hence the malicious attack from those benefiting from a near-zero data bank of all inhabitants in the country, whether indigene or foreigner.
‘Without mincing words and judging by the coverage given to the allegation, we can state that it emanated from the collaborators to combat the ongoing compulsory linking of NIN to SIM cards of all mobile communication networks operating in the country.’
He added that Patami had served in various government agencies which he headed and perform creditably well in the interest of peace, safety and development of Nigeria.
On the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN) registration and linking with the SIM cards nationwide, he charged government not to allow foreign and domestic elements to frustrate the process.
‘We find it so outrageously demeaning for the unscrupulous elements fanning embers of discord to implicate the United States for credence to their allegations of links with terrorist organisations simply because the minister initiated measures towards curbing the trends of digital malfunctioning and insecure census system that works in tandem with the security architecture of the nation.
‘Hence, this is causing the malicious attacks from those benefitting from a near-zero data bank of all inhabitants in the country, whether indigenes or foreigners. Without mincing words, it suffices to state that it emanated from the collaboration of criminal elements whose activities had being seriously combated by the ongoing compulsory linking of NIN to SIM cards of all mobile communication networks operating in the country.
‘We are also compelled to call on the international community to disregard this campaign of calumny by the whims of the multinational communication companies whose nefarious activities are being checked by the recent policy introduced by the minister,’ he stated.