• Reps may probe allegation against the minister
• Lawmaker blames DSS for Pantami’s appointment
Against the expectation of many Nigerians, Federal Executive Council (FEC), yesterday, failed to discuss the vociferous calls for the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, to resign from office over the alleged links with terrorist groups, Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed newsmen after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the issue was not raised at the meeting.
Pantami was one of the ministers who attended the council meeting via a virtual arrangement.
Newsmen sought to know from Mohammed whether FEC discussed the matter during their closed-door meeting and whether the government was comfortable with the burden on the nation’s reputation.
But the minister responded thus: “I am not going to go into the issue of whether the government is comfortable or not. I will answer your question directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.”
Pantami, who is caught in the web of controversies over his past comments endorsing activities of both terrorist organisations, has, however, announced renouncement of his views.
He said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja last Saturday that he “now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.”
THERE were indications yesterday that the House of Representatives may probe Pantami’s alleged link to the terrorist networks after the Minority Leader, Mr. Elumelu Ndudi, raised the issue under matters of privilege during plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
Elumelu claimed that he had been inundated with calls from his constituents who inquired whether the House would probe the allegation.
“A serving minister in this government was alleged to have links and personally subscribed to the beliefs of some terrorist groups. Recently during his Ramadan message, he owned up but said he only did so out of ignorance.
“My worry is that I am a serving member of this House. A few days ago, I was inundated with calls from my constituents, who said this House has been talking so much on insecurity, yet not saying anything over such a weighty allegation against a serving minister. He should either resign or be removed”, Elumelu stated.
The Delta State-born lawmaker asserted that his privilege as a member was at stake if the House failed to take appropriate action.
Gbajabiamila, who reminded Elumelu that he drew the attention of the House under a wrong footing, stated: “Your observations have been noted.”
Chairman of the Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi, absolved the National Assembly and Department of State Services (DSS) of blames on the Pantami saga.
A MEMBER of House of Representatives, Adamu Yusuf, who briefed newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, said: “The security agencies, particularly DSS should be held responsible, having failed to thoroughly scrutinise Pantami before giving him a clean bill of health as a ministerial nominee.”
He expressed regret over comments previously made by Pantami in support of terror groups, saying they have great negative implications for the security of the nation
Meanwhile, the embattled Pantami has continued to allege that the campaign against him is politically motivated.
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