The Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not discuss the allegations against Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, during its weekly meeting on Wednesday.

The minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while briefing journalists at the State House after the meeting, stated that the FEC did not discuss any issue concerning his communications counterpart.

Mr Pantami was one of the ministers who attended the council meeting virtually.

He has been in the eyes of the storm over his alleged links with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Taliban.

The Pantami controversy started with a report that the United States of America government reportedly placed the minister on terrorist watch list. However, the report, which failed to quote or referenced any source, has been recanted and an apology offered to the minister.

Mr Pantami, who is also an Islamic scholar, denied the alleged links to extremists in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES.

The initial report has caused more spotlight to be placed on Mr Pantami’s past sermons, some of which appear to be sympathetic to extremist groups.

Buhari keeps mum

While briefing State House journalists , Mr Mohammed was asked whether the council which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari discussed the matter and whether the government was comfortable with its burden on its image.

The information minister stated that nothing of such nature was discussed at the meeting.

“I’m not going to go into the issue of whether the government is comfortable or not. I will answer your question directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.”

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Mr Pantami during his daily Ramadan sermon at the Alnoor Mosque, on Saturday, said he made those comments while he was still very young.

He said the campaign against him is politically motivated.

“For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have travelled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano States and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.

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“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.

“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.

“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.”


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