Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media Bashir Ahmad and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy were at the weekend under attack for tweets in support of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Ali Isa Pantami.
Using the hashtags #PantamiResign and #PantamiResignNow, many Nigerians requested for his resignation after multiple reports accused him of terrorism ties while expressing admiration and praise for Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Ladin and founder of the Taliban Islamist group Mullah Omar.
Bashir Ahmad, via his official handle @BashirAhmad, tweeted a photoset of quotes from Pantami in solidarity with the Minister.
Also, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, via its official handle, expressed solidarity with the minister.
In the now-deleted tweet, the official Twitter handle was caught trending #PantamiWillStay.
Reacting to the tweets, which stirred up controversies, Nigerians said the Minister should be removed or must resign over some of his controversial comments.
Jerry Abimbola said: “Integrity or not, I don’t care! How many bandits/Boko Haram/kidnappers do they got arrested with NIN linked? Boko Haram has been operating for years, yet Communication Ministry cannot locate their source of video/voice note, their supplied chain of info, including weapons!”
In a comment, Adamu Abubakar said: “You can never whitewash him! Our memories of him can’t be erased easily. Ten years to come, we will still remember him as an extremist and a terrorist sympathizer that was once in power.
“That’s who he is; that’s what he represents.”
Sam Smith tweeted: “It’s unfortunate that you’re shamelessly posting this.”
@LovedayOjinuka said: “Is he the one in the videos making rounds? If yes, he’s a terrorist apologist and is not fit to hold any public office. These are simple terms.
“Defending him is tantamount to defending a terrorist apologist and whoever defends a terrorist apologist is himself a terrorist apologist.”
Social commentator Henry Shield queried: “How did Pantami make it through DSS screening? Anyone bothered to find out?”