Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Thursday dismissed the conspiracy theory about the relationship between G5 and COVID-19.
Speaking when the management of Blueprint newspapers paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja, the minister said there was G5 in South Africa and Mauritania before the outbreak of coronavirus with no outrage in the spread of the disease in the two African countries.
He said: “These are the two countries with G5 in Africa and there was no COVID-19. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) was already in the process, but I had to stop them. We are still in the process.”
Stating that the primary responsibility of government is the protection of lives property of the citizens, Isa Pantami explained that when he was appointed as minister, his top priority was to look into what he could do to support Mr. President and he felt it was his responsibility to ensure whatever can endanger the lives of Nigerians are avoided.
Consequently, he said he directed NCC to put G5 on hold.
He stated further that his ministry is still in the process of considering and taking appropriate steps on G5, adding that the process would be advertised and programmed in local languages.
Describing the media as pillar of democracy, the minister said journalism and ICT are interwoven, and that is why people talk of multimedia. He added that he has been reading Blueprint newspapers and was impressed with what he has been reading, promising to be of assistance to the newspaper whenever the occasion arises.
The minister who is also addressed as Sheikh Pantamifor his versatility in the Holy Qu’ran and Islamic jurisprudence,described the media as the greatest pillar of democracy, adding that as long as the media ensures there is feedback, fair hearing and objectivity, there will be good governance.
He urged Blueprint newspapers to continue to practice responsible journalism.
Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer of Blueprint newspaper, Alhaji Salisu Umar, told the minister that the good work the federal government is doing under President Buhari needed to be conveyed to the general public and the newspaper is a good platform to convey such messages to Nigerians.
He added that few Nigerians understand some of the activities of government and there is need for the public to know what government is doing.