Compel Malami to prosecute Pantami for terrorism – Ozekhome urges civil society


Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has called on civil society organisations and Nigerians to legally compel the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to prosecute Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for terrorism.

The lawyer also lambasted the Presidency for exonerating Pantami’s past radical comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. He described the defence of presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu that Pantami had apologised and should be forgiven as “pedestrian argument”.

In a statement on Friday titled, ‘Can Dr. Isa Pantami Be Prosecuted For Acts Of Terrorism?’, Ozekhome said though Pantami cannot be prosecuted under the Terrorism Act, because his alleged terrorist acts occurred between 2000 and 2006 prior to the enactment of the Terrorism Act in 2011 but the communications minister can be prosecuted under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act.

“The combustible and inflammable comments of Dr. Pantami no doubt were intended to cause fear or make any government or bodies abandon a standpoint, induce fear in the public or government, etc. He can be charged under the EFCC Act,” the senior advocate said.

Ozekhome further noted, “Under section 5(2) of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, Pantami can be charged for terrorist activities, because terrorism includes “support” for; and “support” includes (in the words of the Act) “incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information”.

“My humble call on Pantami is to resign his ministerial appointment and save this clueless government of further infamy, calumny, obloquy and odium.

“Where he fails or refuses to do so (as I know he would), then President (Muhammadu) Buhari should sack him. Where Buhari refuses (as I know he would), then, any and every Nigerian or NGO that feels sufficiently concerned and aggrieved can approach the courts and ask for an Order of Mandamus, to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to prosecute Pantami, by virtue of section 174 of the 1999 Constitution. Every Nigerian has the right (locus standi) to do this.”