The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says the crime of alleged certificate forgery involving a former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, is different from the extremist views of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
Shehu said this during Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme on Friday.
There has been pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Pantami whose controversial sermons had recently gone viral.
In one of such sermons, Pantami praises notorious terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, and also speaks highly of terrorist network Al Qeda. However, he recently apologised for his extremist views, claiming he had since changed.
The Presidency on Thursday also took sides with Pantami, insisting that persons who were opposed to the reforms in the ICT sector being championed by Pantami were behind the campaign.
However, some Nigerians on social media said it was ironic that ex-Minister, Adeosun, who was accused of forging her National Youth Service Corps certificate was never supported by the President until she finally caved into pressure to resign.
Responding to a question, Shehu said the Presidency’s response “would have been different” if Pantami had forged his certificate like Adeosun did.
“In the second case which is that of Pantami, you are probing the thoughts, what is called ‘McCarthyism’; you search the inner recesses of the minds of individuals, bring out things they have said, or they are about to say, or you think they would say, and use that against them.
“If Pantami had forged a certificate before coming into office, the attitude (of the presidency) would have been different,” he added.
He also lambasted those who had rejected Pantami’s apology, describing them as intolerant.
“Those people who stand in criticism of a man who has said he had wronged society, he has apologised and changed, and they are not willing to forgive him to move on, they are the ones who are the problem. They are the ones who are deeply intolerant,” Shehu said. – Punch.