The Forum of Bishops and Clergy Council Society of Nigeria (FBCCSN), on Tuesday, held a solidarity and peace rally in support of communications minister Isa Pantami.
FBCCSN members were seen holding a banner which read, “Solidarity and peace rally in support of President Buhari ICT reforms. Vote of confidence on Dr Ali Isa Pantami Honourable Minister of Communication. Venue: Unity Fountain.”
Pantami had come under fire after some of his old speeches surfaced online in which he expressed support for some terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
This ignited controversy and led to Nigerians calling for his resignation and subsequent probe.
However, FBCCSN decided to hold a peaceful rally as they showed their support for Isa Pantami, saying they are fully behind him.
Some women were also seen carrying placards with inscriptions on them such as ‘Continue with your good work Mr President’, ‘Nigeria first’, ‘Dr Isa Pantami is not a terrorist sympathiser’, ‘Thank you Mr President for not yielding to blackmail’, ‘Our unity is above religion, politics and tribe’ among others.
Some of the women covered their faces with the banners while other members of the group tried to hide their identities.
These pictures have since elicited reactions on Twitter as many suspected the protesters were hired and paid to be pro-government in their outlook under the guise of being clerics.
The group, according to Sahara Reporters, has no online presence and had only surfaced on the internet on Tuesday.
Twitter user @ekwuemsblessing said, “I don’t know what’s going on here but these men are no clergymen from the look of things. Who even writes scripts for this government and all their affiliates?”
@TWEETSBYOLORI said, “I can confidently tell you these are not real bishops and clergymen. Na arrangee things.”
@CJIJAY wrote, “How sure are we they are real? Because I can’t imagine, one can give himself or herself to such self-humiliation and insult at a go.”
@dosdotdiplomacy tweeted, “I have never heard of the existence of this forum. Secondly, notice that most hide their faces with the banner, while some are with the face masks while the guy with the fake stone couldn’t even look up.”