PANTAMI: Nigerians Say DSS, Senate Not Up to Task

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Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, US, Deeper Dive, Pantami’s Background, Ex-DSS Executive
Nigeria’s communication and digital economy minister, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

PANTAMI: Nigerians Say DSS, Senate Not Up to Task

Nigerians have faulted the capacity of the country’s intelligence community, saying the Department of State Security (DSS) may have failed in its duty if the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, could escape their scrutiny and be cleared for ministerial appointment despite his endorsement of terrorism.

Issues around the minister’s endorsement of terrorism and terrorist groups have been raging in Nigeria for over a week, even though he came out on Saturday to say his disposition has changed long ago.

Nigerians have however continued to call for his sack, saying the position he holds in the federal executive council is critical to the nation’s intelligence and security, all of which could be compromised by anyone with the sort of mindset he was associated with.

“A news medium could dig back and come up with the minister’s mindset some years back, but the DSS could not. It is a huge shame,” wrote Johnson Dogara in an e-mail he sent to Nigerian Sketch.

The Nigerian Senate has also been berated for not observing enough diligence while screening ministerial nominees before confirmng them for appointment.

Alade Olufemi from Osun State said “The Senate is just a theatre stage when it comes to screening of nominees for national appointment. They don’t research, they don’t ask serious questions, they don’t dig. Nothing! All they do was to be clownish and then they confirm. It is unfortunate that Pantami was not even taken up on his past dispositions on the floor of the Senate. How could that have escaped them. And worse than that, how could it have escaped the DSS?”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came short of saying the DSS may have allowed the country’s intelligence to be compromised.

PDP issued a statement on Sunday to task DSS to immediately invite the minister for questioning over alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, while asking President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.

“Our party’s position is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication Minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles”, wrote Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s spokesman.

He added “The PDP is particularly worried about allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the National Identification Number, NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.”

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