Yusuf Gagdi, a member of the House of Representatives, says Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, past views on support for terrorist groups have implications for Nigeria’s security perception.
There have been numerous calls for the minister’s resignation following a reappearance of a 2000 video showing him supporting al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
But recently he renounced his past glances about terrorist groups, saying that his attitude at the time was based on his understanding as a teenager.
Referring to reporters on Wednesday, Gagdi, a member of the Congress of All Progressives (APC), said the minister’s past statements “seem to undermine current security”.
“It is more important what value it adds to the Nigerian economy. What value does Pantami add to reducing the issue of insecurity in Nigeria? “Every politician has his enemy and every politician has his past,” he said.
“I remembered when Isa Pantami commented on Boko Haram. People sent out videos insulting him and trying to proclaim him. How can you place this or oppose its current position?
“A man who has made a statement in the past against or supporting a certain security situation – which is unlikely. If that statement is true, then it didn’t work out for him at all.
“After being appointed minister, he confronted Boko Haram about registering a SIM card in such a way that the man was declared one of their main targets. I think life has put him in a very critical position that he is neither here nor there, because if they see him, they will not leave him.
“So, there are great consequences, to be fair, in terms of the security of this country for the Minister of Digital Economy, who made a statement in the past that seems to undermine the current security commitment.
“This has major security implications for the security perception of this country. I can tell you that without saying a word. But again, compare that to his commitment as a minister.
“What are his efforts? Did he compromise with these people in any way or did he commit himself to these people seeing him equally as an enemy?
“It would help you strike an equal balance during that. But I have to tell you, it has consequences. His statement has major implications for the security situation in this country. “