Nigeria’s terrorists-linked Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, accepted the role of Professor of Cybersecurity five months before the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, officially offered him the appointment.
According to some documents uploaded by Nigerian academic and media scholar, Farooq Kperogi, the minister accepted the offer as a Professor of Cybersecurity in the School of Information and Communication Technology on March 30, 2021.
However, the appointment letter from the university offering him the professorship post has August 20, 2021 as its date.
“I wish to accept you the offer as a professor of cybersecurity in the School of Information and Communication Technology, Federal University of Technology, Imo, Owerri State.
“This decision is sequel to my briefing to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Friday 26th March 2021 and his permission for me to go ahead and share my knowledge and experience in the academia, which is a form of community service to our citizens.
“Furthermore, i want to categorically states that i will serve as a Professor of Cybersecurity at the University (on CONUASS 11) 7 STEP1. However, i will serve voluntarily without receiving any payment, untill further notice. I will assume duty tomorrow, 31 March, 2021.
“Whilst thanking you for the offer, please, accept the assurance of my highest esteemed regards,” Pantami letter to the university dated March 30, 2021 read.
However, FUTO Registrar, John Nnabuihe in a letter dated August 20 to Pantami claimed his promotion was “based on his qualification which he merited through long years of research works.”
“I write on behalf of the Governing Council to offer you a Tenure Appointment as a Professor in the Department of Cybersecurity, School of Information and Communication Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri with effect from March 19,2021 on the following terms and conditions,” Nnabuihe said.
“Your duties will be teaching, research and such other duties as may be assigned to you by the Head, Department of Cybersecurity or his/her representatives from time to time
“(a) You will be placed on Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS II) 7 Step 2 that is N5,249,996.00 per annum. (b) Your next increment is due on October 1, 2021 provided you have served at least six (6) months by that date.
“You will be entitled to annual leave but no leave grant shall be payable. The commencement and termination of the appointment will be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Regulations Governing the Conditions of Appointment of Senior Staff.
“The appointment is subject to your passing a medical examination to be arranged by the University. The appointment is subject to the provisions of the Federal Universities of Technology Act, Cap. F. 23, Volume 7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and also to the Regulations Governing the condition of Appointment of Senior Staff made by the University Governing Council from time to time.
“Your Personal Number is SP.6056 and must be quoted in every official correspondence with the University. Please let me know in the writing within four (4) weeks from the date of this letter whether or not you accept the offer on the terms and conditions herein stated.”
FUTO and Pantami have both been under fire by Nigerians over the circumstances which the minister was promoted to the highest academic rank in the institution.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it would investigate the controversial appointment.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also suspended Sunday Congo, its Gombe state caretaker chairman, for writing a congratulatory letter to Pantami.
The minister had been in the news earlier in the year over his past call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Pantami was quoted as saying in one of his vicious preaching in the 2000s.
“Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” he was quoted to have also said.
In other audio clips that surfaced online, Pantami was also heard as sympathetic to Boko Haram members when delivering sermons at several worship centres in the 2000s.
However, Pantami claimed he had renounced his radical comments and said his views had changed over time. He said he had in the past 15 years been traversing the country to preach against terrorism.
Despite the Minister’s claim, most Nigerians said the minister ought to have resigned due to public backlash and be investigated by the authorities. Should he fail to resign, some commentators said he ought to be sacked by the President.
But the Presidency, in glaring support for Pantami, dismissed the possibility of sacking the controversial Minister because he had allegedly apologised for his radical views.