The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, on Wednesday, asked the House to demand the resignation or sacking of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his records of once backing activities of Jihadist leaders and deadly Islamic sects.
Elumelu raised a point of order to demand that the House should act on the issue at the plenary on Wednesday.
He particularly demanded the minister’s resignation or sacking.
He said: “Mr Speaker, I have a ‘privilege’ point of order under Order 6 Rules 1 and 2. My privilege bothers (on the issue of) one of the serving Ministers called Sheikh Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami.
“There have been insinuations that he has direct links and personally subscribes to the extreme Islamic beliefs of al-Qaeda, Taliban and Boko Haram sects. There are evidences, compelling, on the cyber space to buttress and lead strong credence to a relationship and existing mutual collaboration between him and terrorists.
“Recently, while the Minister was answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at An-Nur Mosque a few days back, he owned up to the fact that he took extreme positions in support of the brutal exploits of al-Qaeda and the Taliban out of ignorance, claiming that he was young when he did that and now, he is mature.
“Mr Speaker, my worry is that I am a serving member of this chamber and for the past few days, I have been inundated with calls from my constituents, claiming that if it is right; that they have always seen this House talk about insecurity and can sit on this floor and tolerate the fact that a serving Minister, where there are allegations of him being a member of al-Qaeda or Boko Haram, and he is still serving in this administration.
“I feel that it will be out of place for me to sit here and allow this chamber not to speak about it. I totally call for his resignation or suspension. This is my submission, Mr Speaker.”
Responding on the prayer, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House said: “I think you came under the wrong order because you have not stated how your privilege has been breached. But your point of order is well noted. As you know, under privilege, we don’t debate such issues if it comes under privilege. Thank you.”
While reacting to criticisms of the National by the public for approving Isa Pantami to become a Minister, the Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi, has faulted critics of the National Assembly.
He said that while it is the Senate that confirms cabinet appointments, the National Assembly only acts on security clearance by the Department of State Services.
Gagdi also stated that only the President can hire and fire his cabinet members.
He also pointed out the limitation of the DSS, saying they are not God.
“I will not say that the DSS and the National Assembly acted in error. The National Assembly and the DSS are not God. You will never get all the information about every individual during confirmation, because the DSS is not God.”