A motion that would have led the House of Representatives to demand the immediate resignation of Minister Isa Pantami has been shut down.
Mr Pantami who oversees the Digital Economy and Communications ministry is being asked by Nigerians to resign from his position over his past extremist sermons in support of foreign and local terrorist groups.
During the military onslaught against Boko Haram when former president Goodluck Jonathan held sway, Pantami, an Islamic cleric, described the terrorists as his Muslim brothers killed unjustly. This was after he exclaimed being happy whenever non-muslims are violently eliminated.
Renouncing his past views, the minister said he propagated the extremist views, including those made when he was 34 years old in 2006, while he was immature.
Despite that, Nigerians on social media, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State among others have all joined in calling for the removal of the minister but the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has kept mute over the development.
“It was not discussed at the council meeting,” spokesperson of the government, Lai Mohammed said while briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday chaired by Mr Buhari.
At plenary today, the minority leader of the house of representatives, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) raised a point of order seeking a debate on the issue but was interjected by the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“Your point of order is noted,” Mr Gbajabiamila said and hastily ruled his colleague out of order, saying the motion failed to comply with house rules.