13th July, 2020
MURIC TO SAHARA REPORTERS: PANTAMI DESERVES APOLOGY
Popular Nigerian tabloid, Sahara Reporters, recently published a story in which it alleged that the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, has purchased three houses within the period that he became a minister. The Minister last week denied the allegation with solid facts but nothing has been heard from the newspaper after the minister’s rebuttal.
Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has declared that the minister deserves an apology for the wrong accusation.
MURIC said, “Sahara Reporters recently accused Dr. Ali Isa Pantami of purchasing three houses within the period that he became a minister. This is a highly defamatory and malicious allegation. But the honourable minister has debunked the allegation with indubitable evidence. We are not aware of any other development in the matter to date.
“The Muslim Rights Concern is deeply concerned that Sahara Reporters has picked on an innocent Islamic scholar of international reputation for yellow journalism. Minister Pantami is a rare product of Islamic scholarship. We are proud of him and we frown at any attempt to stain his name.
“The fact that many Nigerians go into politics and hold public office for ulterior motives does not mean that all Nigerians are thieves. There are still a large number of honest Nigerians at home and in diaspora. We have no scinttila of doubt that Dr. Pantami stands tall among the latter group.
“We have remained quiet all this while hoping that Sahara Reporters would withdraw its statement particularly after the minister had successfully defended himself. Facts are known to be sacred in journalism and we expect the newspaper to restrict itself to facts only. We know that the press is powerful but no media house has the moral right to abuse that power.
“It is our honest belief that Minister Pantami has been wronged by Sahara Reporters. He deserves an apology. Therefore the newspaper should do the needful otherwise it will lose the respect of the general public.
“MURIC appeals to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to take necessary steps towards ensuring that journalists uphold the ethics of the profession. Freedom from malicious damage is the fundamental right of every citizen and NUJ has a duty to protect innocent citizens from antagonistic journalism.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)