Mr Garba Shehu has slammed the critics of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, for their unwillingness to forgive him.
He believes the failure to forgive the minister for the comments he made in support of extremist groups in the past is worse than the offence he committed.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity made the remarks on Friday during his appearance on Politics Today on Channels Television.
He said, “I am saying to you that people who stand in criticism of this position of the man who said he had wronged himself, he had wronged the society, and has apologised that he has changed, and they are not willing to forgive to move on; they are the ones who are the problem.”
Pantami has been was widely criticised by various individuals and groups for the comments he made in the past in support of extremist groups.
If people will be fair. Pantami has thrashed the Boko Haram ideology. We believe he has changed. – Garba Shehu, Spokesman to President Buhari.
We say we are religious people . . . all the scriptures say if you are a bad man today, you are welcome to become a good person – Garba Shehu on Pantami
Garba Shehu, a spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari, suggests that former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun’s crime was greater than Isa Pantami’s.
If Pantami had forged certificate before coming into office, the attitude (of the presidency) would have been different.
Those people who stand in criticism (of Pantami) and are not willing to forgive him are the problem.
We are not happy people are killing one another, but the way reporting is done, it is as if this has never happened before.
‘We Change And Transform’
Recently, the remarks he was said to have made many years ago sparked debate and controversy, with many calls for his resignation or removal by the President.
The minister has since renounced his comments and said he was a changed person, but that was not enough for those calling for his removal.
Rather than sacking the minister as widely demanded, the Presidency said it was in support of Pantami and all Nigerians to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services.
Defending the government’s position, Shehu stressed that it was wrong for any individual to deny their fellow beings a chance to be a better person.
“In all our lives, we change and transform … we don’t remain in the same position. The people just assume that he cannot change; if the One who created you gives it to you that from being bad, you can become good, what tells you to deny some other persons this right?” he questioned.
The President’s spokesman added, “They are the ones who are deeply intolerant, and who are telling the world that in this country, we have the set of people who don’t forgive, who don’t want to move on; they are the problem of the society.”