Ndudi Elumelu, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, urged the House to demand resignation or sack of Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, for once backing activities of Jihadist leaders and deadly Islamic sects.
The minister has been under fire for once preaching the violent cause of extremist Islamist sects and Jihadist narratives of al-Qaeda and the Taliban before he became a minister.
Elumelu, at the plenary on Wednesday, raised a point of order to demand that the House acts on the issue.
The Minority Leader particularly demanded Pantami’s resignation or sack.
His words, “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 evidence, 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 (Wuse, Abuja) 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.”
However, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, overruled the Minority Leader, noting that Elumelu came under the matter and the matter being raised had nothing to do with his privilege as a lawmaker.
Gbajabiamila 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.”
Gbajabiamila, therefore, called on another member to present a motion.