In a statement issued yesterday and signed by its national coordinator, Malam Ibrahim Abdullahi, MMWG, described the recent media report linking the minister-cum-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.”
Abdullahi informed that within a period of three years in government as a Director-General in the ICT industry, Pantami received over 110 awards nationally and internationally for his outstanding academic and professional achievements even before he assumed office as Hon. Minister.
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 therefore reiterated its support for stringent laws to deal with purveyors of fake news in order to rid the nation of the crime which in most cases has led to civil war, unrest and destruction of some nations.
It would be recalled that Pantami has written to the publishers of Daily Independent newspapers demanding public apology and retraction of a story alleging that he is on a United States watch list over alleged links to Boko Haram.
The minister, through the legal firm of Karina Tunyan, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, demanded that the newspaper recant the story it published in its last Sunday edition, which has since gone viral, within 24 hours or face legal consequences.
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