An Islamic rights body, Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, (MMWG,) has risen in defence of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, insisting that he has no links with Boko Haram or any terrorists group.
A statement issued on Thursday and signed by its national coordinator, Malam Ibrahim Abdullahi, described the recent media reports linking the minister and Islamic scholar with the activities of terrorists as “false, baseless and unfounded.”
“Dr. Isa Ali Pantami has an impeccable record academically, religiously, professionally and socially that cannot be destroyed by any group or individual through fake news and unsubstantiated allegations,” Abdullahi stated.
According to him, MMWG has investigated the allegation and found it to be tissues of lies and false media propaganda by enemies of Nigeria.
He added that the news must have emanated from “some undesirable elements, who are envious of the rising profile of an outstanding professional in the area of ICT, good administrative skills and transformational agenda in his ministry, which would lead Nigeria into new economic progress and development.”
He maintained that someone who had delivered over 25 public lectures condemning the doctrines and heinous crimes of terrorists and insurgents cannot be part of them.
The group leader further noted that “some of the print media organizations that carried the false reports have started retracting their false stories against Dr. Pantami, to save them from conviction in courts of law”, stating ”this is very bad.”
“Some media organizations would out of sentiment and parochialism willfully use false stories before investigating them instead of investigating before publishing or broadcasting.
“One of the ethics of journalism is to ‘leave out’ when not sure of any story and carry out your independent investigation before publication,” he stated.
The group reiterated its support for stringent laws to deal with purveyors of fake news to rid the nation of the crime which in most cases has led to civil war, unrest and destruction of some nations.