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Group Demands NITDA Probe, Accuses DG of Being Pantami’s Puppet


As calls continue to mount on President Bola Tinubu to probe alleged illegal activities in ministries, departments and agencies during the immediate past administration, an advocacy group, Protection Awareness, has called for a thorough audit of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the last eight years.

The group, which accused the current NITDA administration of being under the puppet strings of the former former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said it was high time the government revisits some policies undertaken by the agency.

The group while noting that the strategic agency has not lived up to expectations,
also called on the present administration not to renew the tenure of the current NITDA Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, whose tenure expires in August this year.

NITDA is the apex Information Technology Regulatory Agency for the Nigerian ICT ecosystem.

Abdullahi’s tenure will expire in August 2023. He was handpicked by Pantami who was a former DG of Pantami.

Abdullahi who served as Pantami’s Technical Adviser in NITDA, joined the agency on secondment from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as level 10 officer.

A statement by the president of the group and ICT expert, Obinna Echendu, said NITDA needs to be sanitised of the old retrogressive order which is still orchestrated by the former minister.

Echendu, who alleged that the serving DG, is still being controlled and micromanaged by Pantami, added that the former minister had attempted to use his closeness to former President Muhammadu Buhari to secure a 2nd term for Abdullahi, while his 1st term is yet to expire.

“We in the ICT sector understand how strategic and sensitive NITDA is to not just our economy but to our security and overall welfare. We are also not unmindful of the controversy that trailed the unearthing of Pantami’s sympathetic views toward some extremist groups.

“While he has expressed regret for those views blaming them on youthful exuberance, we believe that such explanation was not sufficient enough considering the controversy surrounding his age as of the time he made those comments. We also saw the previous administration gave a watery defense for Pantami and refused to open an inquiry into the matter despite calls for such and video evidence on the sensitive issue.

“In light of this, we believe that an audit needs to be done in the agency to assure Nigerians on how the ICT was managed not just under his watch but under the watch of the current Director General. We are concerned that the continued stay of Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as Director General of NITDA  will extend Pantami’s grip on the sensitive and strategic Agency and on the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The group further alleged that under the new DG staff statutory allowances were not paid as and when due, adding that contractors are being owed.

He said revenue generated are being diverted to building of headquarters without commensurate value of the work done.

“He approved the severance package of Pantanmi running into over hundred and fifty million naira when the latter was appointed Minister of Communication and Digital Economy when he spent only about two years as DG NITDA,” Echendu alleged.

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