From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not discuss the issue of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, whose alleged previous link with Al-Qaeda and Taliban, had led to calls for his resignation, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said.
Briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday, Mohammed said the matter did not come up for discussion at the meeting.
Pantami attended the virtual council meeting, remotely from his office.
Mohammed was responding to a question on whether the council discussed the matter and whether the government was comfortable with its burden on its image.
The minister said: “I’m not going to go into the issue of whether government is comfortable or not. I will answer your questioned 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 organizations, has however, announced that 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 had blamed political distractors for his travail.
Pantami had said: “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.
“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager.
“I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”