Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has reacted to the verdict passed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on his appointment as a professor of Cybersecurity by the Federal University of Technology, Oweri (FUTO).
Pantami, who spoke on Wednesday while addressing journalists shortly after the Federal Executive Council Meeting (FEC), said he would refrain from publicly speaking on the issue because the matter is in court.
The minister had spoken extensively on a policy document approved by FEC which mandates government officials and agencies to mandatorily use official emails with the government’s domain name, but when asked about the ASUU’s position on his professorship award, he declined comment.
The minister said: “On your second question, no comment. No comment, and no comment. That is my position. I’m here for an official assignment that focuses on my responsibility. So anything to deal with my ministry of communications and digital economy, I can be subjected to you and that is why I come here. I couldn’t go anywhere.
“What is most important is that the institutions you have mentioned are in court. As a government official, do you know what contempt of court is? You need to know. So because of this, I’m a law-abiding citizen.”
In September, 2021, Mr Ibrahim was among seven academics who were elevated by the council of FUTO to the position of professorship at the council’s 186th meeting.
The university, in a statement, listed others to include Lawrence Ettu as a professor of civil engineering; Godfrey Emeghara as a professor of maritime management technology; Okechukwu Onyelucheya as a professor of chemical engineering; Alex Opara and Chikwendu Okereke as professors of geology, among others.
The development had attracted controversy among Nigerians, especially academics, who described the process leading to the appointment as “unprecedented and illegal.”