Elumelu demands Pantami’s dismissal over pro-Al-Qaeda views

Elumelu demands Pantami’s dismissal over pro-Al-Qaeda views

Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the house of representatives, has called for the immediate dismissal of Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy.

Elumelu asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister over his now-recanted views supporting terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Moving a point of order during Wednesday’s plenary session, Elumelu said the minister should be sacked having owned up to taking extreme positions in the past.

He said Pantami does not qualify to oversee the ministry of communications which controls the database of Nigerians.

The lawmaker joins other Nigerians who have been calling for the minister’s resignation over the pro-Al-Qaeda comments.

In videos from the 2000s, Pantami, who is a known Islamic scholar, was reported to have said while he was against the extremist anti-western ideologies of Boko Haram, he supports some of what Al-Qaeda and Taliban had preached.

But he recanted the views at a recent lecture in Abuja, saying that his position at the time was based on his understanding as a teenager.

“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,” he had said.

“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 the international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”

Calls for the minister’s removal, however, continue to heighten while some Nigerians have also asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to probe him.