House minority leader demands Pantami’s sack over past pro-Al-Qaeda comments

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, has called for the immediate resignation or sack of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over pro-terrorist comments he made in the past.

Elumelu speaking at Wednesday plenary asked the House to cause a debate on the issue, particularly demanding Pantami’s exit from office. recalls that the minister had denied making pro-terrorist comments after media reports of his previous teaching were published but later acknowledged his past views.

Pantami said he has since renounced those radical comments.

The minister blamed his past radical leanings on age, immaturity and limited knowledge.

“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,” Pantami said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja.

“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.”

However, Elumelu, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, said Pantami’s statement was a breach of privilege and should not be allowed.

The lawmaker noted that the minister occupies a very sensitive position and the comments should not be overlooked.

“For the past few days, I have been inundated with calls from my constituents that if it is right for a serving minister (who) owned-up and said that he did whatever he did that time because he was a youth,” Elumelu said.

“I feel it will be out of place for me to sit here and not see this chamber speak about it and totally call for his resignation or suspension.”

But, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gnajabiamila said the lawmaker’s point was noted but was improperly presented.

Gbajabiamila said Elumelu’s complaint “came under the wrong order (because) you have not stated how your privilege have been breached.”

“But your point of order is well noted. But you know that under privilege we don’t debate such issues. Thank you.”

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