Beyond the copy and paste syndrome they do mostly from foreign Islamophobic media (although some of them are now copying from Al-Jazeera), many Nigerian journalists aren’t really informed about current happenings in Afghanistan. Some of them even think Afghanistan is in the Middle East. Laughable, isn’t it? Many of them (not all) don’t know any other thing about the Taliban other than it being a terrorist organisation, ignoring the fact that the US negotiated with this so-called terrorist organisation for years.
In fact, the “peace” deal struck by former US President, Donald Trump, with the Taliban on February 29, 2020 without the involvement of a major party to the conflict – the Afghan government, gave Afghanistan back to the Taliban on a platter of gold, 20 years after they were ousted by the same US. Well, I don’t blame these propagandists who parade themselves as journalists, because most of them seat at the comfort of their newsroom to just copy stories from online sources, sensationalise the headlines to suit their nefarious agenda.
I’m not here to defend the “militant” or “islamist” group as some media would rather call them. They have their spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, who has been running the Taliban PR campaigns as claimed by analysts, in an effort to win the hearts and minds of both Afghans and the international community. Whether all they said about amnesty for all combatants, upholding women’s rights and all is mere stunt, only time would tell. But I am here for our colleagues, especially the propagandists among them who want to use this Taliban news in Afghanistan to unnecessarily escalate tension and division among Nigerians, by trying to again smear the personality of Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami.
What relevance do your stories about Communications Minister, Pantami’s old lectures have in connection to Taliban today, beyond hate speech? Publicly and repeatedly, before the media, the energetic Honourable Minister had denounced these age-long speeches which relate to the Taliban, the same group the US held several meetings with, culminating in a peace deal on several occasions or any other group. You all published it. He gave you all unfettered audience to drill him, saying “some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time” quoting Premium Times of April 18, 2021.
Why bring up these materials again? Why use such derogatory statements like Taliban Minister? Why instigate pseudo-human rights activists and organisations to make him denounce their activities in Afghanistan again when he has already moved on, focusing on digitizing Nigeria’s economy? It’s needless and unnecessarily provocative to drag Dr. Pantami into the latest development after futile efforts to implicate him with the sole aim of bringing him down fell through just a few months ago.
If I were Pantami, I’ll just keep mum, even though keeping mum can also be twisted by the propagandists media, because no matter what he says, like he did before, they will still come at him. They will still mischievously misrepresent his speeches and escalate it for selfish, devilish and pecuniary interests.
I wish Dr. Pantami doesn’t allow himself to be distracted by these characters within the media. I wish he can continue to concentrate on his vision for a greater and digital Nigeria, especially now that he just delivered fantastic projects across major states of the federation and still going. Another one, the batch 8, to be commissioned on Thursday, August 19 in eight different locations across the country. When the propagandists are tired, they will keep quiet.
– Abubakar writes from Lagos. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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