From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not discuss Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, alleged previous link with Al-Qaeda and Taliban, which had led to calls for his resignation.
Briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, Mohammed said the matter did not come up for discussion at the meeting.
Pantami attended the virtual council meeting from his office.
Responding to a question whether the government was comfortable with the allegation, the minister said: “I’m not going to go into the issue of whether government is comfortable or not. I will answer your question directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.”
Pantami, who is still in the thick of the controversy over his unearthed comments endorsing both terrorists’ organisations, said he has renounced the 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.
The minister blamed political distractors for his travail.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, blocked attempts by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, to get the House to debate alleged links of Pantami to extremist groups in the past.
Elumelu, shortly, after opening formalities had raised a point of privilege on the issue.
Relying on Order 6, Rule 2 of the House Standing Orders, he called for the immediate resignation or sack of Pantami over alleged links with terrorists groups in the past.
In the last few days, Pantami has been under fire over his utterances in the past, expressing support for dreaded extremist groups.
Elumelu stated that the allegations against Pantami were too grave for the House not to talk about it.
He said the minister should be sacked having owned up to taking extreme positions in the past.
He said Pantami did not qualify to oversee the ministry of communications which controls the database of Nigerians.
Calls for his removal have, however, continue to heighten while some Nigerians have also asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to probe him.