BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to approve N895, 842, 465, 917 as 2021 supplementary budget.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had dropped the hint at an earlier interface with the lawmakers.

She had also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) sanctioned the amount, adding that N83.56 billion of the sum was for COVID-19 vaccines, including 30 billion doses from Johnson and Johnson and related logistics for their deployment.

Reading Buhari’s letter on Tuesday at plenary after a two-week break, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated that a substantial part of the money had been earmarked for procurement of military hardware to prosecute the war against insurgency and banditry.

According to him, the Federal Government is also using part of the money to purchase coronavirus jabs and address other health-related needs.

The letter read in part: Dear Distinguished Senate President, submission of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021.

“It is with pleasure that I forward herewith, Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021 for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.

“The supplementary budget request is for a total sum of N895, 842, 465, 917.

“We propose to fund N45.63 billion of the N83.56 billion required for the COVID-19 vaccine programme by drawing on existing World Bank loans which will be structured, as well as other grants totalling $113.2 million.

“The balance of N37.93 billion required for COVID-19 vaccines, salaries and other health-related expenditures totalling N41.6 billion and N48.2 billion recurrent component of defence and security will be funded by borrowing N135 billion from some special reserve levy accounts.

“We propose to fund the balance of N722.4 billion for capital expenditure on defence and security and capital supplementation from new borrowings in the absence of any supplementary revenue sources”, the letter said.

In another development, the NCD Alliance Nigeria has called on the Nigerian leader to tackle the job and health problems of People Living With Non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCDs) nationwide.

The alliance’s president, Dr. Sonny Kuku, who made the appeal at the media launch of the PLWNDs’ newsletter on Tuesday in Lagos, noted that 70 per cent of global deaths come from NCDs with over 60 per cent of the PLWNCDs out of jobs.

He added that three-quarters of these deaths are from cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetics, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health, noting they occur mostly in countries like Nigeria, with four out of five dying before attaining 50 years due to poor healthcare systems and inability to capture the affected people in job platforms.

Kuku thanked Nigerians who have been against discrimination and other stigmatisations meted to this special set of persons. Also speaking, the Executive Director of NCD Alliance Nigeria, Prof. Akin Osibogun, stated that government should prioritise PLWNCDs in job placement and find ways of including them in people-centered healthcare and decision-making processes.

The group noted that the newsletter, which captured the plights of these special people, was produced by eight of them drawn from four states and trained by it.

Lawal Kallam, a stroke sufferer, said the publication is a call on government to consider job openings for them, as many of his colleagues have resorted to roadside begging, Guardian reported.

The editor, Michael Uchunor, appealed to the President to check discrimination across all levels and build educational facilities for the patients, even as he encouraged the victims to take medication for better chances of survival.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has approved the resumption of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) land swap plan.

FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, in a statement while briefing State House correspondents shortly after a virtual meeting of the council revealed that the approval followed a memo he presented.

The initiative, which was put at about N1 trillion under the previous dispensation, was designed to remedy the infrastructure deficit in the Federal capital by swapping lands with private investors who would in turn provide necessary infrastructure.

According to the Minister, the approval followed a memo he presented to the council during the meeting, Daily Post reported.

He also said that amendments were made to the original form of the initiative by establishing a legal framework to protect all parties.

BUSINESS GlobeNews NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal government has directed all broadcast service providers and social media platforms operating within the Nigerian space to apply and obtain licence for their services.

In a statement by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, said platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others must now be registered in Nigeria.

He said Twitter had also reached out to the government seeking high-level discussions to resolve the issue.

Nigeria had banned Twitter in the country and also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction any agency that flouted the directive.

This is even as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, promised to take legal action against violators of the Twitter ban amidst opposition from human rights groups, opposition political parties, a section of the international community and the media.

Speaking further, Lai Mohammed said freedom of speech had not been stifled by the suspension of Twitter as Nigerians could still use other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

The minister stressed that the microblogging platform was suspended because it provided an avenue for people threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria. The owner of Twitter helped to fund the recent #EndSARS protest while allowing the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to use the platform to call for the killing of policemen.

He said Twitter failed to take down Kanu’s tweets despite repeated requests to do so.

Mohammed dismissed the notion that the suspension of Twitter was not effective, wondering why the microblogging platform was losing money as a result of the action taken by Nigeria. ”They (Twitter) are now ready to hold senior-level discussions with us… I just confirmed with my colleague. We just got the information”.

Asked whether the government will hold the discussions, he said: “Why not? We will; our conditions are already laid out to you: one, to do business in Nigeria, they must register as a Nigerian company. Two, you must be licensed. Three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria; to the corporate existence of Nigeria. From there, any other issue will come in. We have already talked to them”.

He added: “I want to repeat that Twitter has consistently made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence. That is the reason for suspending their operations in Nigeria.

“It may interest you to know that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have any office in Nigeria and do not pay taxes to the Nigerian government for the billions they earn here. That is not the best practice globally, and that is why we are insisting that for you to operate in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licenced by the broadcasting commission.

“We have already advertised the notice to the companies concerned to apply for registration of licence.

”The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, of funding the #EndSARS protest, citing the fact-check done by an online newspaper. So, whether he donated money himself or helped to raise money, the Twitter owner is one of those who helped to fund the #EndSARS protest that was later hijacked leading to loss of lives and massive destruction of property.

”Like I said last Wednesday, you can see from the fact-check, the role of Jack Dossy is suspect. His interest in Nigeria is inimical to our growth. Our decision to suspend Twitter has been lauded by some, it has been decried by some. But we want to make it clear that what is important to us is the sovereignty of Nigeria”, the minister noted.

On the directive of the House of Representatives Minority Caucus asking Nigerians to disregard the ban, Mohammed said: “They are entitled to their opinion. They have the right to say so, but I am just telling you that the reason why we took the decision is because we believe that every interest in Nigeria today is inferior to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“Probably if they understand why we are doing so, probably their views will change and frankly speaking, this is a time when politicians should rise above divisions and queue behind the country”, he stated.

NBC’s directive

A document released by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said the decision to direct social media platforms to register was based on the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Findings revealed that in addition to Twitter and Facebook, the latest directive from NBC has made it mandatory for the likes of Reddit, Snapchat, Tiktok, Disqus and other platforms to get clearance before operating in Nigeria.

An advertorial by the NBC seen by this newspaper reads: “In line with the provision of the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation 2004, Section 2(1)(b)(i), which says ‘The commission shall have the responsibility of receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television, cable television stations including cable television services, Direct Satellite Broadcast (DSB), and any medium of broadcasting.

”The National Broadcasting Commission hereby directs every Online Broadcast Service Provider and Social Media Platform operating within the Nigerian State to apply and obtain Broadcast Licence for their service”.

The media platforms were directed to send their applications to the director-general of NBC.

They must also register with CAC

A credible source at the Federal Ministry of Information said Nigeria was trying to get its act right.

”Besides obtaining licence from NBC, all the social media platforms must also register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and you know what that means.

”The requirements would include having an office in Nigeria and all details that would help in collecting taxes from them. The so-called Twitter war is an eye-opener for us. There are over 40 million Nigerians who are twitting and supporting advert revenue for the so-called tech giant but they don’t pay us anything.

”This fight has opened our eyes and indeed God has opened our eyes. The media giants have been short-changing Nigeria for long…We are just rediscovering ourselves and the monies we would generate in the nearest future is much”, he said.

Asked if they will win the war, the source said, “Why Not! This is an international best practice…Twitter and the rest pay tax in the US, UK and other countries but they don’t care about us, they don’t care about our laws even though they are mindful of our big market. Nigeria is a big market that no serious investor will ignore and it is our responsibility to take part in designing the ground rules”.

Twitter doesn’t pay tax to us — FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said Twitter does not pay tax to it.

A director at the FIRS said the service is yet to “device a way to tax online transactions”.

Suspension of Twitter lawful, moral

— Lawyer

A lawyer, Dr Daniel Bwala has backed the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter in Nigerian internet space saying it is lawful, legal and moral.

Speaking in an interview with Channels TV recently, Bwala also criticized Western countries who condemned the ban in unison as an attack on freedom of expression.

“What is the position of the law? And this is a fact that can be verified. In 2011, David Cameron threatened to shut down Twitter; Twitter had to comply. Israel threatened to shut down Twitter, Twitter had to comply. Turkey, France, Germany. In fact, in one of these African countries, they even had to shut down Twitter, and conducted elections before they came back to the social media.

”I have cited the example of the holier-than-thou nations. When they were in their crisis moment, they called Twitter to order; but now it is convenient for them because they do not have a crisis. We in Nigeria are faced with an existential crisis. And therefore, the government cannot sit and watch Twitter, especially, not social media, whose founder has indicated a clear case of interest in Nigeria”, he said.

Bwala advised the Federal Government to proceed further and lodge a complaint in the United States Congress to call Twitter to explain its interest in Nigeria.

He said Nigerians who have suffered losses due to the suspension cannot secure a remedy against the government but the microblogging platform, which they have agreement with.

Another lawyer, Isaac Anumdu said there was no provision under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which empowers Nigeria to mandate an offshore company to either register in Nigeria or pay tax except they bring in physical goods.

”Right now Twitter is not within Nigeria’s territorial jurisdiction. So Nigeria cannot compel it to pay tax.

”If Nigeria was well guided, it would have immediately rescinded the ban on Twitter and used diplomacy to get the company set up an office in the country on its own”, he said.

We’re yet to take position on Twitter ban – Senate

Senate on Wednesday said it was yet to take a position on the decision of the federal government to ban Twitter in the country.

The spokesman of the Senate, Ajibola Basiru, while briefing after plenary said the Senate has not considered the issue of the Twitter ban. If I express any opinion, it will be my personal opinion and there is the tendency that my opinion may be judged to be that of the Senate. So, I don’t have the mandate of the Nigerian Senate to talk on the issue of Twitter.

”However, journalists have access to the Attorney-General of the Federation to challenge him and come up with a legal basis for whatever action he has taken.

“When it comes to interpreting laws in Nigeria, the buck stops at his table. To challenge his opinion, the way to go about it is to go to court. I am not in a position to take him on his action”, he said.

PDP asks US, UK to impose visa ban on Buhari, cabinet members

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia and other members of the international community to immediately impose visa ban on President Buhari and members of his cabinet involved in allegedly stifling free speech in Nigeria.

The party predicated its demand on the alleged violation of the UN International Charter on Human Rights by President Buhari by banning the use of Twitter in Nigeria.

In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said banning Twitter in Nigeria was a clear violation of Article 19 of the UN Charter as well as Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guaranteed freedom of expression to all Nigerians.

USAID warns FG as Trump hails Buhari

The United States has again urged the federal government to rethink and rescind the Twitter ban in Nigeria. The message was conveyed by the current administrator of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power.

In a tweet on her verified handle on Wednesday, Power wrote, “There are nearly 40 million Twitter users in #Nigeria, and the country is home to Africa’s largest tech hub.

“This suspension is nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech and should be reversed immediately”.

However, Former US President, Donald Trump has hailed President Buhari over the suspension of the operations of Twitter in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, Trump advised other countries to emulate Nigeria.

“Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their president. More countries should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech – all voices should be heard,” the statement read.

“In the meantime, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they themselves are evil? Perhaps I should have done it while I was president. But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was”.

Trump’s statement came four days after Facebook slammed a two-year ban on him over his role in the insurrection on Capitol Hill, Daily Trust reported.

The social media giant had initially suspended the Former US president indefinitely.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has taken delivery of the first ever Nigeria-made cellphone called ITF Mobile.

The product was presented to him by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, just before commencement of the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Introducing the product to the President, Adebayo said it was produced by the Electrical/Electronics Technology Department of the Industrial Training Fund’s (ITF) Model Skills Training Centre, using locally sourced components.

“Twelve indigenous mobile cell phones produced by the Model Skills Training Centre of the Industrial Training Fund; an agency under Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment was launched.

“It gives me great pleasure, Mr President, to present you with one of the phones”, Adebayo said.

Also before the start of the FEC meeting, Buhari also presided over swearing-in ceremony of a Commissioner each for the National Population Commission (NPC) and the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).

Those sworn-in were Wakil Bukar as Commissioner of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCC) and Mohammed Dattijo Usman as Commissioner of the National Population Commission (NPC).

Bukar is to replace the FCC Commissioner from Bauchi State while Usman replaces the NPC Commissioner from Niger State. Representatives from the two States died recently.

President Buhari is presiding over the FEC meeting at the conference room of the First Lady’s office.

Those attending the meeting physically are the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; and Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

Others include Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Finance, Zainab Ahmed; Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Industry, Trade and investment, Niyi Adebayo, The Nation reported.

The Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan and other Ministers are participating in the weekly cabinet meeting from their various offices in Abuja.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, approved the sum of N1.1bn for the procurement of aviation security uniforms and accessories to be used at various airports in Nigeria.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at the State House, in Abuja, at the end of the FEC meeting.

He said, the minister of aviation got approval for the award of a contract for direct procurement for the design, manufacture and supply of aviation security uniforms and accessories, Punch reported.

”The total is N1,127,945. The unique thing about uniforms for the aviation industry is that it has some International Civil Aviation Organization standards that would be followed”, Mohammed said.

BUSINESS NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Government on Tuesday disclosed that Nigerians will have to pay tolls when they use highways to be managed by private firms.

More than 75 companies have submitted concession bids for 12 highways under the first phase of the Highway Development Management Initiative (HDMI).

Head of the Public-Private Partnership, Ministry of Works and Housing, Abimbola Asein, in a statement by the Director of Press, Boade Akinola, explained that the HDMI was designed to attract investment and funding.

The roads are Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Onitsha-Aba-Owerri, Sagamu-Benin, Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga, Kano-Maiduguri. Others are Kano-Katsina, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry.

He noted that the ministry is working with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and other stakeholders on the initiative, Daily Post reported.

Asein confirmed that the buy-in of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly had been obtained.

The official said Nigeria is looking forward to a robust procurement process “that will attract capable concessionaires that will develop and manage these routes”.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC), at its meeting on Wednesday, approved a total sum of N8.8 billion for the completion of the Bagwai irrigation project in Kano State and the Biu water supply project in Borno State.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, revealed this after the virtual FEC meeting presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the Bagwai irrigation project was stalled due to lack of funds.

“Today, I presented two memos to the FEC; both of these memos are requesting for augmentation for existing and ongoing projects; one for irrigation and one for water supply.

“The first one was for expansion and completion of the Bagwai Irrigation Project on Watari Dam in Bagwai local government area of Kano state; we have sought for an augmentation of N3.76 billion, which was approved.

“The contract has been ongoing and at some point suspended because of lack of funding.

“It was awarded to Messrs Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Limited; mobilised in 2006 for an initial period of two years; the scope of work was a special irrigation scheme involving 872 hectares.

“We have done an audit, in line with our policy since the inception of this administration and since I came into office in 2015, whereby we are laying more emphasis on completion of ongoing and abandoned projects”, he said.

Adamu said therefore, council was gracious to approve this augmentation with the sum of N3.762 billion, bringing the new contract sum to N9.2 billion from N5.4 billion, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT, with an additional completion period of 24 months plus another 12 months liability period.

He said that the second memo was a request for augmentation for the Biu Water Supply Project that started in 2001. The project ran into a lot of problems, mainly associated with funding and the Boko Haram insurgency.

“So, we sought for an augmentation; there were two contracts; Lots one and two, which have now been merged into one contract in favour of Nalado Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors for one of the Lots.

“But because the contractor for Lot one has decided to opt out of the contract, we sought approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement and the other company that was doing the Lot; Nalado Nigeria Limited, agreed to take over the Lot which was being executed by Mothercat.

“So, the total augmentation, like I said, is N5.063 billion, bringing the contracts sum now to N9.36 billion from N4.29 billion, inclusive 7.5 per cent VAT, with a new completion period of 24 months.

“We hope that these projects will be implemented in earnest and hopefully, we will be able to get them completed by 2023 for the overall benefit of the people”, the minister added.

He said it was prudent to complete the projects rather than embark on new ones because a lot of investment had already been made and the investment would be lost if the projects were abandoned, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

Adamu further said if we are not able to complete them to a logical conclusion to ensure that the people they are meant for directly benefit from them, then it would have been a lost investment.

“That is why we are laying a lot of emphasis on completion of ongoing and abandoned projects. We have made a lot of progress in that regard since 2015 or 2016’’, he said.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC), yesterday, approved N10.168 billion to facilitate execution of various projects under the ministries of Water Resources and Aviation as well as two agencies under the Presidency.

The council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was held in the First Lady’s Conference Room, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking to newsmen after the virtual meeting, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu and his Aviation and Information counterparts, Hadi Sirika, and Lai Mohammed explained the various projects approved by council.

In the Ministry of Water Resources, the minister said FEC approved augmentation for two contracts, which had been affected by time and inflation.

“The contracts, Bagwai Irrigation Project in Kano State and the Biu Water Supply Project in Borno State, got an aggregate of N8.825 billion.

“The first one was for expansion and completion of Bagwai Irrigation Project. We sought for an augmentation of N3.76 billion, which was approved.

“The second memo was on augmentation for Biu Water Supply Project. Again, this is a project that was started in 2001, but is yet to be completed. It ran into a lot of problems, mainly associated with funding and the Boko Haram insurgency. So, we sought an augmentation.

“The total augmentation is N5.063 billion, bringing the contracts sum now to N9.36 billion from N4.29 billion, inclusive 7.5 per cent VAT, with a new completion period of 24 months.”

Sirika said council approved a contract for procurement of a towable mobile office for the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) of the Civil Aviation Authority.

“The contract is for procurement, equipment and installation of accident investigation towable mobile offices in favour of Messrs. Crases Integrity Services Limited. The total contract sum is N201,150,437.21.”

Mohammed said two memoranda were approved in the name of President Muhammadu Buhari, Guardian reported.

“I have two memos presented in the name of Mr. President. The first was a memo seeking approval of council for the enhancement of security at the newly completed premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission located at Jabi.

“The second memo sought council’s approval for procurement of 16 vehicles for the use of Federal Civil Service Commission. We have 16 members of the FCC, the chairman and 15 commissioners representing the states.

“They asked for replacement of the old unserviceable vehicles and the council duly approved the purchase of one Toyota Landcruiser V8 and 15 Toyota Rush, all at a total of N336,216,198,” he said.

NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N805.7 million for the purchase of equipment to enhance security at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters, Abuja.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, briefed State House correspondents after a virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“You will recall that from 2011 upwards, there have been various attacks on Federal Government institutions and even multilateral institutions just like UN headquarters building.

“Consequent upon those attacks in 2011, 2014, 2018, the Federal Government set up what is called Vulnerability Assessment Committee to see how we can better protect ministries, departments and agencies.

“It is line with that, the EFCC today presented to council, a memo seeking approval for the procurement of four sets of automatic and static anti-crash system with automatic scanners and other accessories.”

“He gave other items as 900 linear metres fence intrusion detection system, human screening equipment, four workflow metal detectors, two hand-held metal scanners, one luggage scanner and three hand-held explosive trace detectors.

“All at a value of N805.7 million inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with the completion period of 12 weeks.’’

Mohammed said that the second memo which the president presented to the council for approval was for the procurement of 16 vehicles for the use of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).

“You know we have 16 members of the FCSC, the chairman and 15 commissioners representing the states and they normally embark on extensive advocacy visits and routine oversight functions to ministries, departments and agencies across the country, AFP reported.

“So, they asked for a replacement of the old unserviceable vehicles and council duly approved they purchase one Toyota land cruiser, V8, and 15 Toyota Rush all at a total of N336 million,’’ he said.

He added that the Federal Government was concerned about labour unrest in Kaduna and was working towards an amicable resolution of the issues with little loss to productivity and property.

GlobeNews NEWS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has faulted the Federal Government’s approach in handling accusations against the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

She warned the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that Nigeria is not listed among states sponsoring terrorism.

Pantami has been under fire lately over comments he allegedly made several years ago in support of Al-Qaeda – an extremist group founded by the late Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, by the US Navy SEALs inside a private residential compound in Pakistan.

Pantami also made comments in support of Taliban, a Sunni Islamist movement and military organisation in Afghanistan currently waging jihad within the country.

It was reported that many Nigerians are calling for the removal of Pantami or his resignation over some controversial comments he made in the past in support of global terrorist groups, Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Though the minister had renounced the controversial comments on the terrorist groups, saying that he was young when he made the radical comments and he is now mature and now knows better, Nigerians reiterated their position that Pantami must resign.

Some Nigerians also called for the prosecution of the minister, insisting that he should be jailed if found guilty.

Despite the public outcry, the Presidency has remained silent on the matter.

Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not discuss the issue on calls for Pantami’s sacking during its meeting presided over by the President.