Pantami reacts to FUTO, ASUU professorship saga

Isa Ali Pantami

Minister of communications and digital economy Isa Pantami on Wednesday declined comments on the “illegal” verdict passed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on his appointment as a professor of cybersecurity by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).

ASUU leadership had on Monday ruled that Pantami’s appointment as professor amounts to illegality as one cannot be a lecturer and also a minister.

The union also said it would sanction FUTO management and ASUU members involved in the award of professorship to Pantami. The university has since taken the matter to court.

Speaking on Wednesday while addressing journalists shortly after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting, the minister 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 the FEC which mandates government officials and agencies to mandatorily use official emails with the government’s domain name.

He 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.”

Pantami was elevated to a professor in September 2021 at the varsity council’s 186th meeting.